You know the lady in the grocery store who stares longingly at your children and says, “Enjoy it while you can, they grow up so fast!” and you feel equal parts anger and guilt? Anger because she has no idea what you’ve just endured in the last twenty minutes with your little cherubs and guilt because you really want to feel that joy but just can’t sustain it for more than a few minutes at a time? I remember being very tempted to spew a sarcastic response more than once.
We dream and plan for years what it will be like to have that happy little family and then when we are in the midst of the overwhelming continual chaos, the dreams can become really murky. Doctors and specialists view our children in stages, determining if they are growing normally based on their ages. What if we approached our life situations similarly, as seasons?
In my experience we should be looking at parenting from a seasonal point of view, because we are constantly changing and so is everything and everyone around us. As babies, they need us for every single thing to sustain life and can give us nothing in return. It’s the season where they are in your arms more than anyplace else.
When your children are young and underfoot and it is so hard to be okay with sharing 100% of yourself every single day, it can help to recognize that this is a season, a tough one, but temporary. This is the one when they need your eyes.
When your pre-teen corrects every sentence you utter with, “Actually….” and has to tell you each detail about the book they are reading, it can help to remember it’s a short season. Suddenly they are teens with few words, most of which are negative and challenging. Again, a season. These are the ones when they need your ears.
Friends tell me that as they grow up and leave home, our children still need us for buffering and guidance, for bouncing off ideas big and small. I’m hoping this is a long season of needing my time.
Although each season is so different, each one needs your heart, the same one that dreamed and planned long ago. And when we view our children as being in a season, it can be easier to respond kindly to the stranger who knows just how quickly time really does fly.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1