We were on the way to my sister’s house to celebrate an early Christmas.
“Remember your manners,” I told the kids as we drove. “And don’t forget to say thank you for dinner.”
“Don’t worry, Mom,” my daughter said. “You guys have taught us well. We can do it on our own without you reminding us.”
Mike and I looked at each other. “Good,” I said, smiling. I leaned back and basked in the moment.
Could it be, with our kids eight and ten years old now, that we’ve passed that stage of needing to remind them of things all the time?
Could it be, after years of energy and effort and sometimes frustration, that the things we’ve been trying to teach them are really a part of who they are?
Am I at the stage where I start to let go?
It was awesome to consider.
But as I sat there, smiling and thinking about what my daughter said, that song by Trace Adkins, You’re Gonna Miss This, came on the radio.
“You’re gonna miss this ...” I listened.
And I knew it was true.
All the younger years of parenting that Mike and I have been through so far—years filled with training, discipline, reminding, endless effort and sometimes little reward—I will miss them. Because they’ve been years of magical milestones and closeness, too.
I look forward to the pre-teen years that are around the corner, and I’m happy and proud of the people my kids are becoming.
But I’m sad, too.
Because as they grow more independent and need less reminders, I’m acutely aware of how fast time is passing.
And even though it’s amazing to see my kids growing, in some crazy way, I know I’m going to miss this ...
this phase of parenting.
It’s a funny thing, this motherhood ...
One minute you wish your kids would hurry up and get older so things will be less crazy, less demanding, less of a balancing act.
But then they do get older and you’re struck by how fast they’ve grown.
And you remember, as you stare out the car window on your way to a Christmas dinner, with a smile on our face and a lump in your throat, the days when they were tiny and just learning to talk.
The days when they were just learning to say thank you.