Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first. (Matthew Jacobson)
I remember bringing each of our daughters home from the hospital. I was exhausted, excited and scared, and not sure of what I was doing. I do remember friends and strangers who were older than me sharing the knowledge of “cherish every moment.” Those words, I thought were crazy, I am not cherishing my lack of sleep, or inability to have a shower by myself, or that the minute I finally had the girls ready to go out one would have to go potty. However, I tried to appreciate the sentiment and would politely smile and agree I should cherish the moment.
I swore I would never say that to another mother ever. I often see friends and young moms in the trenches raising young kids and now I smile fondly. I understand what cherishing every moment has come to mean. As my kids have gotten older, hit puberty, moved out into their own world, I am beyond proud of them, but also I realize that their friends and social life take priority over spending time with their mother, and my opinions are not always asked or appreciated.
What these older moms were sharing is to enjoy the moment, enjoy your child’s innocence, be happy that your biggest worry is that your child might forget their swimsuit for swim practice. Soothing a frustrated infant, or your toddler crying is nothing compared to losing sleep because your teen is late for their curfew. Next, you’ll be helping them pack for college, and you will miss them terribly, but hope they are able to find their own way and make it on their own. You are going to see them struggle, and you aren’t going to be able to fix it for them. You know they need to do the work themselves in order to learn important life skills and lessons.
As our kids grow up, parents can only do so much for them. We can give them tools and self-confidence. We can believe in them, hope all the lessons we’ve tried to teach, and all the love we’ve given, can guide and help them discover what amazing people they are. We need to be our kids’ biggest cheerleaders, mentors, friends and role models. It is a daunting task but the rewards are priceless, so cherish every moment.