I am always the first perhaps-annoying person to remind parents when they are totally tapped out and running on empty with their children that each time is magical and not to be rushed. Not to wish for the next stage to arrive too expeditiously. I’m the one quick to tell parents when they are wanting their child to talk, to potty train, to read, to get their license, to head off to college–whatever the next stage they see as somehow a relief or a change–that the moment will surely arrive, and, most likely, way too soon. It took my until my third child to really ground in that elusive notion. Now, that third child is 20. And, as I look back at photos of all three of my children as little ones, I simply cannot fathom the speed of the thousands of days that have brought us to this point.
I reveled in the newborn phase, celebrated the crawling, laughed out loud at the toddler antics, smiled through my tears at the first days at school,cautiously celebrated the teens, offered advice and dried their tears during their new found independence while holding them close at the same time. Every stage is the best. Now, I shall readily admit that perhaps, at this point in my life, I have some selective memory operating in my middle-age brain. But, even digging deep and pulling up the feelings of those sleepless nights with a teething baby or those sleepless nights awaiting the phone call to hear that a teenager had safely arrived on the other side of the world, I hold those moments as sacred. As sacred as the ones I recall of a relaxed afternoon on the beach playing with my toddlers or an enchanted evening deep in conversation with a teenager full of thought.
The days are sometimes long and hard, but the years whiz by at overwhelming warp speed. Each moment is a gift. Each stage in our children’s lives and our lives as parents is to be relished for just what it is — part of the immensely complex and intricate path we have chosen. That path is full of twists and turns, hills and valleys, long days and often longer nights, but it is blessed. I have no desire to hurry it, even though I can taste the joy of being a grandmother! Every stage is the best. I can bask in this one of having three amazing twenty-somethings for a while with joy!