When we were just starting out and my kids were very young, I would often find myself thinking / saying things like “I can’t wait until the kids grow up!”, “I can’t wait until I can do grown up things with my kids!” and “I can’t wait to see how my kids turn out!”.
Life (and it’s continual march forward) has a way of diverting your attention from some of the most important things - things like TRULY enjoying your children at the age they are at. Believe me, there is plenty of time to enjoy who / what they WILL become later, and no way to enjoy them for what they WERE back when you were too busy wondering what the future holds for them. Now that I am where I THOUGHT I wanted to be, I am finding myself wondering why I was in such a hurry?
Case in point… #2 of 5.
· High school graduate
· Current collegiate student
· Highly independent
Nineteen years… It sure seems like a long time when you say it out loud, but as I look at my son, and realize I am now able to do adult things with him, and am beginning to see how he turned out (all those things I was far too eager for as a young father), I NOW wish I could go back. I hear myself saying things like “I wish he was a little boy again”, “I wish I had done more little boy things with him when he was younger”, and “It’s hard to remember what he was like when he was just a little boy”.
Yesterday, I texted #2 of 5. He attends college about two miles from where I work. I asked him what time he finished classes, and it just so happened that his last class ended 10 minutes before I was planning on going on break – so I asked him if he would like to stop for lunch somewhere.
He did – and we did.
Sitting across the table from my adult son had a bit of a surreal feeling. I (once again) began wondering where my little boy went. It occurred to me that I was falling into the same trap as I did when he was younger – only in reverse. Rather than simply enjoying the fact that I am having lunch with a smart, caring, sensitive young man, I was sitting there feeling bad about how much I wanted my little boy back. I really saw the situation for what it was in that moment.
What is the lesson here??
I (personally) need to constantly remind myself to enjoy my children for who they are, and where they are and at the age they are at. There is plenty of time for their “grown up” versions later - and now (as they are all growing up) it really sunk in that there isn't as much time time for the “early” versions as it seemed back then.
I hope he enjoyed our brief and impromptu lunch, because I truly did!
(#2 of 5 – if you are reading this, anticipate a few more of these, okay?)