“When you first have kids, we often talk about the difficulties of parenting, such as a newborn waking up in the night, a toddler who won’t stay in their bed, the cost of childcare, sports injuries…
Taking time off work to pick them up from school when they’re sick, assisting them with homework, dealing with a cluttered house, never-ending laundry, the cost of school clothes, packing their lunches…
You attempt to absorb the magic of those moments by watching their eyes light up on Christmas morning.
You coach them in sports, rushing them to practices and games and transporting them across the country to allow them to play the game they love, no matter how difficult or costly it becomes.
Life is so hectic that you rarely consider what the end of those days would be like.
It’s not even anything you can comprehend.
You enter the situation thinking that 18-20 years is a long time.
Then, suddenly, hours become days, days become months, and months become years.
That tiny person who used to crawl up next to you in bed and cuddle up to watch cartoons has transformed into a young adult who hugs you as they pass you in the hallway.
And the chaos and joy that once filled your home are now replaced with stillness and solitude.
You’ve learned to parent a child who relies on you to care for and protect them, but you’re stumped on how the ‘letting goes’ process works.
So you cling to life as tightly as you can, wondering how time flew by so swiftly and feeling sorry for missing anything important.
Because, even though you had 20 years, it doesn’t seem like it was enough.
You have a lot of questions for yourself.
Have you taught them the proper lessons?
Did you read them enough books when they were younger?
Have you spent enough time with them?
How many school parties were you forced to skip?
Do they truly understand how much you adore them?
As a parent, what could I have done differently?
It all hits you like a tonne of bricks when it’s time for them to leave.
All you can do now is pray, hope, and believe that God will protect them as they venture out into the world on their own.
Parenting is the most beautiful experience of your life, leaving you satisfied at moments and heartbroken at others.
One thing is clear, however: there is never enough time.
So, for all the parents of small children who spend their days trying to find out how to get through the chaos, tired day after day…
It’s essential to take it all in.
Because one day, all those chaotic days filled with television, snuggles, sleepovers, Christmas morning magic, ball games, practices, and late-night dinners will be forgotten.
It’s all coming to an end.
And all you can do now is hope that you did everything correctly so that when they extend their wings…
They’ll take off.”
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