May 2017

Too Fast

Author: Becca Edwards

You’re pregnant. You blink. Your baby is not a baby anymore. Suddenly, she’s learning to ride a bike and reading books on her own. You blink again. Now she’s auditioning humor, needs a training bra, and you find a note in her backpack professing her love for a boy in her math class, and you think quietly to yourself, “Not this one. He’s all wrong for her!” before shoving it back in the canvas abyss of folders and books. And before you blink once more, you know with “mom-tuition” that soon she is going to be applying to college and has told you at least once or twice that she hates you. Welcome to motherhood: a warp speed series of events that leaves you feeling exhausted and exuberant at the same time and working through a technicolor kaleidoscope of emotions and challenges.

I speak from experience. My oldest daughter Ransom turns 10 this May. Ten. That’s double digits. To her, this is “so cool.” To me, it’s terrifying. I would like to say I remember her baby days like it was yesterday, but that would mean I actually remember anything. As a mother of three, I barely remember my own name sometimes, and don’t ask me what movie I saw last week—that information has simply been wiped from my brain as a defense mechanism to make mental retention room for star charts, to do and grocery lists, practice schedules, after-school activities, and playdates.

I do, however, remember people saying to me during those early days of poopie diapers, wardrobe malfunctioning breastfeeding tank tops and sleepless nights, “It goes by too fast.” At the time, I thought, “Yeah, well, not fast enough.” When Ransom was learning to eat solids, I wished she would hold her own spoon. When she moved to a big girl bed, I wished she would not need pull ups anymore and would go to sleep minus the 45-minute ritual of bath time and Good Night Moon. When she started to draw and write letters and numbers, I wished she would not do it on the walls and in my favorite sketchbook.

And now I wish I had not wished all that time away, because it truly does go by too fast. Crazy, awesome, scary, messy, life-fulfilling fast. Every year Santa gives my husband Lee a photo album book of the year prior in his stocking. Juxtaposed to the frantic ripping of bows, paper and cardboard, we each take turns carefully thumbing through the pages of this album. This has become a bittersweet symphony tradition for me because it is a catalogued reminder/documentation of just how fast, fast can be. Haircuts, hairdos, missing teeth, new teeth, family trips, family get-togethers, pet bloopers, milestones, Christmas pajamas, Easter dresses, birthday parties, epic meals, the obligatory kids’ concerts—these are what fill the pages of this album and have increasingly so created an empty feeling in my gut.

That emptiness is generated by an awareness that every minute counts and the introspective question, “Am I savoring every second?”

As moms, we get torpedoed: “Mom, I think I have lice.”—Zing! “Mom, so and so said I wasn’t their friend.”—Pow, pow. “Mom, I’m going to be sick.”—Kablonk. Because of this constant crossfire, it can be difficult to not only respond to the question, “Am I savoring every second?” with a legitimate answer, but also impossible to achieve the hoped for response. Any member of mom club should know its bylaws, the first of which is: “Just do your best and forget the rest,” and membership motto: “We’re only human, despite our superhuman hearts.” But, even still, time carries a weight, and we can’t help feeling mom guilt or even what I call “mommy doldrums.”

Or can we?

Dr. Debi Lynes, LPC, believes we can. And better yet, we should. “The most difficult part of being a parent as kids get older is to allow situations to unfold and not try to fix them,” Lynes said. “Every situation a child encounters is a teaching opportunity as a parent and a child.

Raising a child is a parallel process. Both parents and children learn as they go.”

Lynes proceeded to list five key action points to what she calls “positive parenting”:
• Actively listen.
• Manage your own expectations.
• Help guide a child to a solution rather than giving him/her a solution.
• Role play.
• Ask questions. “The greatest gift a parent can give a child is asking questions. ‘What would you do?’ ‘How would you handle it?’ These questions lay the foundation for critical thinking.”

Regarding pivotal moments, she also said, “Don’t be afraid to blink. Like the blink. Mindfulness means being in the moment no matter where you are.” And though I understood, appreciated and agreed with this sage advice, I still found myself searching for some closure on the topic of “it goes by too fast.” I still felt a conflict with time. It was as if time was still a dark cloud hovering over my otherwise bright and sunny day. And so I did what every child does when he/she feels unsettled and needs to be consoled. I called my mother. Our conversation went as follows:

“Hey Mom, I’m writing an article about how fast kids grow up.”
“Yes, it’s true, sweetie. They do.”
“Well, how do I get okay with it happening so fast?”
“You’re never going to be okay with anything. You’re a parent. You will always question yourself.”
“But, how can I stop time?”
“You can’t stop time.”
“Mom, you’re not helping.”
“I’ve got contractors here, so I have to go in a minute.”
“So, super not helping now.”

“Becca, there is a cycle to life. You have children. You raise them. Your children have children. You watch them raise them. This cycle continues. This is life. This is time. Enjoy it.” 

Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer and owner of b.e.WELL+b.e.CREATIVE (bewellbecreative.com).

Let Us Know what You Think ...

commenting closed for this article


Social Bookmarks