Regardless of how much you try to enjoy life, it seems to go 300 miles per hour after you turn 18. I always heard that as I was growing up, however, when you are in school counting down the days to graduation, it goes on forever it seems. But, they were right, once I turned 18, it seems like my life has been a whirlwind. From waiting to graduation, I have gotten married, had two children, gained new family members through weddings and births as well as lost some due to death.
Now that my daughter is turning 18 in a few short months, I reflect back at the last 18 years, which truly seems like weeks ago. I remember vividly finding out I was pregnant and the pain with bone movements associated. I remember labor and delivery, especially the delivery. I can see this little baby sleeping in the baby swing and being awoke to the sound of rewinding it. It was so noisy! Then came crawling and eating people food. I remember how she loved peas, but her father and I did not. I gave her all the foods that I didn’t like because I wanted her to get a taste of everything.
She started walking, running and then we had to get rid of the pacifier – oh my, that was horrible. I remember this little 20 month old girl with little blonde pig tails screaming, stomping and crying she wanted her “nanniefire”. But she couldn’t have it because it was causing her to get a rash around her mouth. That lasted about a week, then she adjusted.
It was such a joy to see the world through her eyes. One time, we got a really heavy snow when she was 3 years old. When she looked out the window she said, “Oh my! Pepaw made a mess!!”. I don’t know why she blamed my dad, but it was just hilarious. Another time, she picked up a Polaroid camera and while directed at her, she hit the button, the flash went off and a picture came out. She ran to my mom and I and said, “It scared me so bad I almost peed my pants.” I saved the Polaroid. It was her first “selfie”. 🙂 Then she started school, made friends, did dance, gymnastics, learned how to read and write. She still was Mommy and Daddy’s girl. We were so proud of her. She cared about her friends and loved ones. Especially her baby brother. He was born just a week before her third birthday.
A few years later, when we went to the visitation for a grandfather of one of our friends, it was a good time to introduce her to the world of loss. When we entered the funeral home, she asked, “Why is that man in the box?” and I told her “Well honey, he died and went to heaven to be with Jesus.” And she just responded, “Oh, my, bless his heart.” She had never met this man, but still felt compassion for him. A very proud moment for parents.
I wish that we could have been at home more during their childhood. Instead, she watched her dad and I both return to college to obtain our bachelor’s degrees, then our master’s degrees. Although that took us away from her and her brother, I know that this will instill in them the importance of education and making a solid plan for your future earlier in life as opposed to later. The one thing that I would change if I had a “do over” would be to finish my education so that I could focus all of my attention towards raising my family. But, we know that we can not do that. I do believe that did instill in her the importance. She is already planning on continuing her education at the local community college to become an Radiologist Technologist. She expressed that interest a few years ago and we worked to get an opportunity to job shadow. This is one thing I pressed hard for. It is one thing to have a plan to further your education but what a downer to get into the career and learn that you hate it. She observed two full days of different types of radiology, a very good experience. She has taken dual credit classes her senior year and work study to prepare for college. Again, a proud parent moment.
What is the point in all this rambling? Well, if you are a new parent:
– Hold close the memories, big or small, that your children provide you with. Even the rough times, they can make you smile and proud.
– Take every opportunity to spend with your child. You have them until they are teenagers, then they start to sprout their wings and are no longer in need of your guidance, most of the time.
– Don’t be so quick to move forward. You always hear that you wish they could talk, then you wish that they would be quiet. Well it’s true to an extent. You want them to grow up and become a little person, but they grown into an adult faster than you want.
Literally, I feel like I have turned around, or blinked my eyes, and both kids went from toddlers to adults. So proud of the people my kids have become, but yet, still long for the little kids that came running to the door, so excited to see me and give me a hug. They are still in there somewhere and before long, they will come to us to ask us questions again. I think all kids do. 🙂