Yesterday my son turned four. FOUR! I know. Those of you with children in their teens or even 20+ are thinking, “Four? That’s just the beginning.” I can’t help though but feel a little down. Of course, I’m happy and grateful that he is healthy and thriving. But as I sit here and watch him fixated to the television screen, where his favorite show plays, I can’t help but feel the pang of time lost. I ask myself the cliché and familiar question: “Where has the time gone?” It won’t be long before I ask it again, as my youngest will turn two in a few months.
I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom. So unlike many parents, I have the luxury of all day spent with my children. Yet at the end of the day, when I tuck them into bed, I still feel as though there weren’t enough hours in the day. I regret the two hours I spent writing or promoting my work. I regret running to the grocery store and lingering in the aisles, while my husband watches them. Losing my temper earlier in the day. Or not playing “Gorilla” one last time.
No matter how many hours a parent spends with their children, it is never enough. I’m sure this feeling is exemplified with working parents. I know for my husband it is. But what can we do to stop time? To stretch seconds into minutes and minutes into hours?
The only answer I have is to try to cherish every moment. Pause in your busy day to watch them play, eat, and sleep. Take in the gentle curves of their face, their stubby teeth, and chubby faces. Children see the joy in little things, so unlike most adults. Their faces light up over the littlest of things. A popsicle. Their favorite TV show. A caterpillar inching its way along the sidewalk. There are no boundaries, no end to their youthful excitement.
I try to live my life with a sort of unspoken motto–to take nothing for granted and enjoy the little things. Most days I succeed. I relish each cup of coffee, a sunny day, and tender moments with my children. Some days I fail. But as long as I live, I will keep trying to slow that clock. I will enjoy the little things, and I will cherish every moment.