Today is President’s Day. The day as a nation we recall Washington and the cherry tree and Honest Abe. Since most schools are closed we are headed for some Girl Time today. So please excuse my “cheating” as I share some words from another article I wrote when our daughters were small. Seems like yesterday. Sometimes we have to remember not to blink!
“As a mom, do you sometimes feel frustrated? Need some parenting inspiration? Here are a few principles that I learned that gave me a different perspective in parenting children.
Yesterday was a definite eye opening day. It was the first day back from summer of a mothers group I attend at church. You could sense the excitement in the air of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Then it hit me: this would be the first year I would be attending without my oldest daughter. For five years, we had attended together. There would be no more chasing my daughter up the lobby stairs to catch her before she independently went to her classroom. There would be no more midday surprise lunches after my group or meeting up with friends at the park afterwards. It had all been replaced with growing up and pre-kindergarten.
So I did what any other self respecting and grief stricken mother would do: I went and picked up my daughter early from school and took her out to lunch one final time! Sure, she missed some academics, but then it was only the letter M. And well, she already had a handle on that.
We went to one of our favorite restaurants. We laughed and chatted over lunch while her baby sister slept. It was great fun. While we were outside getting ready to leave, I noticed my daughter’s face was pressed against the window of the restaurant. Curious, I asked her what was the target of her affection. With her face still plastered to the window, she gingerly said, “Well, I just wished we had gotten some of that pink cake. Pink is my favorite color, ya’ know.” I paused for a second and thought, “Why not?” We went in and got a piece of that “pink” (strawberry actually) cake, and brought it home to enjoy. My daughter was especially thrilled, since we hardly ever get dessert-because what small child needs more sugar!
Here are the three parenting lessons I learned from this baked good:
1. Time with our children rapidly changes, and will soon be gone.
Parenting consists of different challenges from infants and toddlers to tweens and teens. Some days are more stressful than others. Yet, each day that passes is one less that we have to spend with our children. How have we chosen to fill it?
2. Sometimes memories are just more important
When my job as a parent is done, the only thing I will have is the memories. My sister once told me that memories do not just happen. You have to be intentional about making them. What kind of memories will my children have of growing up?
3. What does it matter?
At the end of the day, what did it matter that my daughter had a piece of cake? Now I am not suggesting that you discard all discipline and routine, but I need to prioritize the right issues to go to task with our children. Am I creating unnecessary battles?
Sometimes it is hard to see the end of the race of parenting. But, there definitely is a finish line. How are you running the race?”