Recently I have caught myself doing something I generally caution others not to do. You know those posts you see on Facebook beginning Sunday night mourning the distance until the next weekend? Yes, I understand that the work week doesn’t hold much appeal come Sunday evening, but it is generally a necessity of life. Similarly, I often hear parents (myself included) wish a certain phase of childhood would just come to pass. I understand the desire to have a good night’s sleep. I also understand the drudgery of changing diapers, not to mention the “odors” that pervade the environment when doing so.
When we wish a certain phase of life, or a certain phase of the week, would pass quickly to get to the next phase what are we doing? Our life span is limited. We get a certain number of days on the Earth and that’s it. The internet is filled with memes containing great words of wisdom regarding enjoying our life, living in the moment, etc. However, we often still get sucked into the notion that the next phase is going to be better because (fill in the blank).
My recent challenges have been not only the diaper scenario but wondering if my two 20-year-olds will ever take the leap to leave home. My own mother has commented several times that the soon to be two-year-old surely has some interest in potty training? Well, perhaps I could potty train her. The downside to a potty trained toddler is the vast opportunities to visit every nasty public restroom possible. If you’ve had a toddler/preschooler, you might remember those visits. You know the ones where you are holding them over the toilet while repeating over and over “don’t touch anything”. And those 20-year-olds? Well, they still contribute to my well-being and happiness. I mean, after all, they do share the duty of taking the dogs out to do their business. They are also willing to partake in scary movie watching with their 14-year-old sister, something I do not enjoy in the least. We also share a sarcastic sense of humor and, strangely, some shared interest in music choices. What really hit home was yesterday when my oldest was here for a short visit. During that visit we cut up about something and she remarked, “I really miss living here sometimes.”
One day you will change the last diaper on your little one. One day your child may no longer let you pick out their clothes or brush their hair. One day your child may be too big to carry. One day your child may be ready to move back to their birth family.
My challenge for you this next week is to pause and reflect on the phases you are experiencing. Choose to find something positive and enjoy the moment you are in. Time moves too quickly. Just take out some old photo books and suddenly you realize just how quickly.
I realize some of you may be in a phase that lacks joy completely. For you, please reach out to others for support. In our community of foster and adoptive parents certain phases can be particularly difficult. If you know someone that needs support, reach out to them. Maybe you'll be the positive in their right now.