Refusing to Blink: savoring the season of childhood

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If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.

“Enjoy every minute.”

“They’ll be grown before you know it.”

“It goes by so fast.”

In my pre-motherhood days, I thought these were just the sentimental musings of people who were either being dramatic or who couldn’t think of anything else to say and so they just made the token grandparent statements they’d heard other people make.

At one time, it even frustrated me. After being encouraged yet again not to get in a tizzy about dishes and housekeeping because I’d have plenty of time for those things when the kids grew up, I thought to myself “Lady, I am cherishing my children, okay, but I can’t just sit and look at them all day long! At some point, I HAVE to do the dishes…”

But that was just my hormones talking; if I was being more honest with myself and less prideful, I knew what she meant and that her intentions were only to help me.

And now?

Well…now, I’m the one making these statements.

Because, while I’m far from being a grandparent, I totally “get” it.

Babies don’t keep” isn’t some figurative thought that sounds good in a poem.

It is literal.

Childhood is literally short.

A year used to be the amount of time it took me to get from one Christmas to the next.

Now, it means that my infant has gone through at least three sizes of clothing and has grown teeth, a personality and the ability to communicate.

It means that my toddler has gone from eating markers to making works of art with them.

It means that my preschooler has gone from talking super cute to talking super normal, perfectly pronouncing “r’s” and “l’s” and correctly using pronouns.

It means that my 1st grader has gone from sincerely asking if we could go to Little Bear’s house for a visit to requesting anything other than “Little Bear” when we turn on the television.

A year in a child’s life might be 365 days, but those 365 days are crammed full of growing and shifting and changing.

And what about four years?

Four years used to measure the amount of time it took to get through high school.

Now, four years means I can go from a world completely immersed in “all things baby” to a world completely devoid of cribs, playpens, highchairs, bottles, diapers, onesies, and strollers.

If that thought is one part wonderful, it is three parts terrible!

So you see what I mean?

The cliches make perfect sense…

blink, and you really might miss it.

And that’s why I am feeling this urgency in my spirit, one that is reorienting my goals to cradle this season of my life like it will be over tomorrow, because…

it will.

I can see it everytime I look at Gideon’s big-kid front teeth…

everytime Rebekah laughs at a joke that I thought would be over her head…

everytime Betsie sings a song and gets the lyrics right…

everytime Shepherd eats a more solid food than he ate the day before…

everytime I look at a picture from last year and feel the floor drop out from under my feet because they’ve changed SO much and I didn’t even see it happen.

Motherhood, itself, is so full of change and growth and bewilderment, and it can be exceedingly difficult to grasp these things in the moment; young pups like us are sadly gifted at getting everything flipped upside down.

We have to shuttle the kids around like this because we have to get “this” done because “this” is so important.

We have to feel the burden of the mess and the clutter and we can’t rest until it is cleaned up!

We need to get this project – that we voluntarily invented – completed NOW. Today. Without delay. Before we run out of time!

But I’m looking around at my life, and the only thing that truly has a deadline around here are these four little humans that are getting taller every minute.

If childhood is literally short, there comes with it an expiration date.

A ticking clock.

And I have lots of stuff to squeeze in before the buzzer goes off…

Nursery rhymes. I want to read them every day until we can recite them in our sleep.

Silly songs and lullabies. I used to dream of the day when I could enjoy my favorite vintage kid songs with my children, but now that I’m in the midst of the perfect season, I’m too busy sometimes to even pull up the playlists.

Looking at the stars. Night after night, the sun goes down and a masterpiece lights up the sky, and all I want to do is put them to bed and watch a stupid TV show.

Cuddles. I want to curl up to them as often as they want me to, and then for ten minutes more.

Flower picking.

Flower smelling.

Rainy puddles.

Forts and flashlights.

Cookie baking.

Dress-up.

Puzzles.

Swings and slides.

Jokes and riddles.

Toys.

Coloring.

Painting.

Creating.

Playing catch.

Playing chase.

Teaching.

Pretending.

Tucking them in.

I want to feast on ALL of it while my table is brimming with childhood.

And I want to read to them every day until my throat hurts.

My house…my plans…my dreams…my projects…my money-making endeavors…

Lord willing, they’ll all still be here when the “blink” is over, and I can pursue them until my face is rosy.

But for now, I have some advice to heed.

“Don’t blink or you’ll miss it”?

I refuse to blink.

~

I am so honored to be among the “freshly pressed” with this blog post! Thank you for all of the kind words, reblogs and likes. As I am “refusing to blink” and can spare no extra time with my back to these precious kids of mine, I am unable to respond to comments during this season of my life. But your words are dear to me. Thank you so much!

 

61 thoughts on “Refusing to Blink: savoring the season of childhood

  1. I love this so much ! I have been feeling this urgent need to cherish this time with my kids too. At 6,3,2 and 8 mo they are growing waaaay to fast !

  2. It is crazy, isn’t it, how fast it goes? It is so easy to get caught up in the “everything else” of raising kids (laundry, dishes, discipline, plans, dinner, etc.) and actually miss the kids themselves. I want to see and know my kids…and I keep feeling the reminder that I absolutely must be intentional about it or I will blink and it will all be over (and I will have missed it!).

  3. thank you! This was a post I needed to read. With my first, fb was just coming into existence. Since then, I have spent too much time on my computer, rather than enjoying the moments with my others. Time flies too fast, this post finally gave me the push to do what I have been thinking of doing the last year…deactivating my fb account. I did this so I can be more present with my kids when they are around, and to be part of their lives rather than peoples lives that I rarely know or see on fb. Time does slip by so fast, and for me it was the computer that was taking my time.

  4. Wow… reading this blog has really opened my heart to all the things I knew and had been told time and time again, like you say, but ignored because of silly things like day to day chores.
    I get so impatient with my 3yo sometimes because he wants to play with me and I feel too tired to join in. But I think the real thing to focus on is letting go of all the pointless stuff that will still be there the next day and give my son and I memories to cherish.

    Love the way you wrote about it; it really struck a chord with me (: xo

  5. This is beautiful. It is so true and I’m on the other end. My kids are in their 20′s, one almost 30…and the youngest is 15. I can tell you with absolute certainty that my 28 year old was six about a year ago, and that my youngest is still 2.
    They are wonderful people, but I miss the little kid days a lot.

  6. Thanks for sharing :) it’s so true that within a blink of an eye their childhood is over! My kids are 2 and 4 and my goodness I am still trying to figure out what happened in that time. Where has the time gone ?
    I really enjoyed reading your post! :)

  7. A really great post! I was the same before I had my daughter, with thinking that every one was going to be dramatic about time flying by and now that she has gotten the 3 month age, I too am feeling that sinking stomach feeling knowing that one day I will miss it. I am fully taking your advice and not blinking. I am on the Whovian level of not blinking. #nerdjoke

  8. You brought a tear to my eye. No matter how much you treasure and adore, each moment still passes.. Just wait ’til you’re my age. :p Mine are in their 20s now and I still can’t blink.

  9. It still goes by quickly, and while not blinking is a great way to put it…it all seems to go by in a blink! My “kids” are now 18 and 21 and I feel like it was just yesterday they arrived. Love how you wrote this!
    Tomasen

  10. It is so true! Beautiful post. I don’t think any parent has regrets that they spent too much time with their kids. I’m so glad you are enjoying this time. That was the advise given to me when my children where small. (Enjoy your kids) Now I am enjoying them as adults as well and the grandchildren they are adding to our family.

  11. off they go turning 18, heading to university, making their own decisions and taking a massive chunk of your heart with them ,the little buggers. Must make a tea to wash down the lump in my throat! Loved your post, couldn’t have expressed it better

  12. I enjoyed this so much because I can relate to this in many ways. The time between my boy being an infant to now being a toddler has gone by so quickly and I have tried my best to capture every moment I can. It all still just goes by so fast. Definitely blink and you’ll miss it moments. I am going to share this on my fb to all the other mothers I know. They’ll relate as well, as we all are working mothers and never really get the chance to just sit and appreciate that time with our littler ones like we truly want.

  13. My boy who I use to term as a wrinkle is now forty three, the girls behind him. Each in a career. My grandchildren are thirteen and eleven. Blink is gone. But memories are here to stay./.

  14. I’m an aunt of two boys (not a mother)…I remember holding them when they were only two days old. Now they’re 9 and 7. Time flies. It truly does. I would also posit that our lives fly by just as fast, and while we’re in awe of these little beings growing and morphing…we too are also…getting older. If its one thing I’ve learned its that life is happening “now”…so obvious, but easily forgotten.

  15. This is beautiful, Im not a mother myself but I can add this, its the same with our parents, they are also getting old and we tend to be ignorant. For some odd reason we think that we are the only ones who are growing up. Thank you for sharing this.

  16. Thanks for this. It brought tears to my eyes. I may not be a mama yet but I understand this more than people realize. I miscarried twins back in November of 2013 at 19 weeks. I had and still cherished those 19 weeks of pregnancy. So thank you for cherishing your children.

  17. Love this post! My wee one is 8 months and I truly feel I have enjoyed every moment I’ve been lucky enough to have with her. :)

  18. I can really appreciate this post. My daughter just graduated from high school yesterday. I truly don’t know how this happened so fast. It was only yesterday when I took her home from the hospital.

  19. Such a beautiful post! As a new grandma, a mother of 3 grown sons, and a mom of a daughter still growing up, I couldn’t agree more! My house is a lot less clean than it used to be . . . but I have a lot more fun! :)

  20. I’m having the same sentiments now.
    I get really frustrated with the messy house after spending the entire day playing with my daughter.

    But oh well, the chores waited for me anyways.

  21. This pulls at my heart strings!! My little bubba is going on 6 months and I just want everything to slow down. I have a zillion pictures of every little stage and I still feel like it’s slipping away.

  22. I don’t have children yet Mrs Gore, but your blog made me make several mental notes: what books to buy and lullabies to practice in preparation for one day. Is it an impossible desire to want to have everything done before they come? Done with being in love, done with career goals, done with investing in other relationships so I can focus all my energy on them? How does one not become consumed with being a mom – a non-blinker?

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