…but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
So when you - my dear Older, Wiser Mother friend - tell me with your weathered skin and wrinkled smile that I am to:
“Enjoy it. It goes by fast!”
I hear you.
There is truth in what you say. In fact, the Bible says,
Children are a gift from the LORD;
they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.
And since children are a gift, a good recipient of a gift will thank the Giver, and enjoy their gift.
“Enjoy it. It goes by fast!” you say.
That is comforting to hear when it feels like everywhere we turn there is a spill to wipe up, a floor to sweep up, a pile to pick up, a mess to tidy up, or a child to pick up.
That is necessary to know when we find ourselves wading around - knee deep - in nursing schedules, sleep-training, potty-training, and any other form of training.
Yes, I’ve personally found myself in one of the densest seasons of my life, and I oftentimes meet myself coming and going. And sometimes in the chaos, I crave sleep, and uninterrupted-adult conversation, and being able to pee in private, and time to myself!
And the day will come when I’ll finally get it, and I’m told that the chaos is to be missed - greatly.
Yes! There’ll come a day when we’ll miss the cries in the night, the throwing of the fits (among other things), the forfeited naps and meals and wearing of the outfits we picked out, the smudges on the windows and the messes on the floor. Yes, we’ll even miss those maddening moments of bedtime!
You say, “Enjoy it. It goes by fast!”
Time is a trickster! It has this way of moving about in hyperdrive and in slow motion - all at the same time.
I’m aware that I have another 15 years until my youngest turns 18.
I’m aware that my hands are full and I’ve got quite a lot of mothering left to do!
I’m also aware that somewhere along the way, I blinked, and became this mother of four children! How and when did that happen!? (It feels like it was only yesterday when I was riding on the back of my boyfriend’s motorcycle and we were kissing by moonlight!)
And now, I’m having conversations with my oldest (now 9) about the importance of daily showers and we’re entering the deodorant world. We talk about frogs, and girls, and how girls are cool when they aren’t afraid of frogs, and that if a boy chases a girl with a frog, it’s “code” for: he likes her.
So when I come up against those long difficult days and sleep-deprived nights…I need to hear your timely advise:
“Enjoy it. It goes by fast!”
Yes, I need you to grab me by the arm and assure me that this is - in fact - just a season.
I also need you to acknowledge that certain seasons will feel longer than others - and that God will see me through - even those!
I need you to assure me that my most tenacious child will be the very one that God will use to stand up for what is right, just, and good.
I need to hear you say that God’s grace is enough. On my best of days - and even on my very worst.
And so, my dear Older, Wiser Mother friend, if your regret is clouding your excitement, it’s time to let that go.
Even though your mothering looks differently than it once did, your job is far from over! Your children still need you - perhaps not in physical, demanding ways - but certainly in emotional and spiritual ones!
The Bible reveals that you still play a very critical role:
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
So, instead of living in the past with the regret of: “If I only knew then what I know now, how different things would be!” Choose to live in the present with the excitement of: “If I only urge the younger mothers what I know now, how different things could be!”
Because the reality is, we still need you and your mothering! I still need you and your mothering! We stand on your shoulders after all - so don’t you dare sit down!
Let’s enjoy it. It goes by fast!