If I had a nickel for every time someone tells me to enjoy every minute with my kids because it goes by so fast, well… I’d have saved for my kids college by now. Time does go by fast, in general. I can remember how long summer used to feel as a kid and now those two months fly by. The older I get, it feels the quicker the years go. And, at certain times I look at my children and can’t believe how they’ve changed and grown. But to be constantly told, whether at the grocery, or the park, or Starbucks, or work, to enjoy every minute with my children and not to miss a single thing, well, now that’s just something I don’t enjoy at all and hope would end already.
I don’t know why I find it so annoying, but I always have since the first person told me to enjoy it now, because it flies by, when my now 4 year old was a baby. I do enjoy my children…but not every second and not even every minute for that matter and I think that’s OK and perfectly normal. I also think its OK for my kids to enjoy life with other people and for other people to enjoy life with my kids. I don’t need to be there at every moment in order to take joy in their growth and accomplishments and I would much rather them learn to enjoy the company of others than to depend solely on me.
I suppose being told not to miss a single moment just reinforces the fact that I do miss moments. Many of them. And every time someone tells me that I better enjoy it now, it feels as if my choices are being called into question. It would be nice for someone to say something like, “enjoy” and leave it at that. It’s the declaration that I shouldn’t miss a single thing because I can’t get these years back, that upsets me. I do enjoy my children, a whole lot–a great kind of joy. But I much prefer to focus on the quality of the time we’re together, not the quantity. And it seems to be working for us.
This constant mantra, to savor every second now, also sends a message that it only gets worse from here… but I don’t think that’s true. I anticipate & hope to enjoy my children as they continue to grow– during their elementary school years, during their teens, and when they become adults. So far, I’m enjoying each stage of their life while also enjoying me. The me that works, the me that is a wife, and the me that is a friend. And I think that’s OK too.
For now, when told to enjoy every second with my children, I will take a deep breath and attempt to use it as a gentle reminder to be thankful and to enjoy all of life–with and without my kids.