Long Days, Short Years

Image by Andreas Wohlfahrt from Pixabay 

Today my son turns 19.

When I wrote about time management in Where Did My Day Go, little did I know I’d be sitting down to write this post on his big day. I mean, 19, what the heck? Where Did My Day Go has turned into where did the last 19 years of our lives go?

Give me a sec while I soak up the tears that threaten to flow...

If I ruminate long enough, I’ll remember “the days are long but the years are short.” -Gretchen Rubin 

I’ll lovingly recall some of the work I’ve put into the last 19 years of being a mom.

I wish my memory served me better.

But then again, maybe it’s a blessing that I can’t recall every single meltdown, or every dirty diaper. Maybe it’s a blessing that I recall those years with a certain fondness. Perhaps it’s in our design, so we don’t recount every...single...thing to our children and scare the idea of our future grandchildren right out of them!

Good Lord, did I actually just utter that word?

I recall how I was often told as a young parent not to blink. Now I’m in the shoes of the, gasp, older-ish mom telling the exhausted mama who’s just trying to finish her grocery trip, with a little one melting down, while trying not to lose her sanity, that it will be okay. This will pass. You’ll actually miss these days.

I figure it’s much better to share that nugget of wisdom, as was gratefully shared with me, than to stand by while someone else scowls at her, or heaven forbid actually says something harmful because of said meltdown. I hope I never come across as trite. I truly want to encourage her. 

When you’re in the throes of a meltdown (yours or your children’s) sometimes the difference between completely losing it yourself and finding the courage and hope to keep truckin’ can simply be a voice of sanity and hope that these long days aren’t the be all and end all of being a mom.

Next time you’re in the store (or anywhere else) with a child who is melting down, hear these words:

This will pass, and you are an excellent mama.

Yes, you’re exhausted, and rightfully so. You are working hard at being the best mom you can be, but you’re only human. Even though you know you’re doing your best, you wonder if anyone will ever appreciate all you do. You may ask yourself if what you do even matters.

Yes, it matters! You matter!

Someday you’re going to see that child do things that will absolutely astound you and melt your heart.

Things that wouldn’t happen had you not been the steady rock of their growing up years, even if you didn’t always feel steady.

Things that wouldn’t happen absent your love, encouragement, dedication and support.

Things that wouldn’t happen if you hadn’t been able to see past the pressures and weariness of the long days to the possibilities and potential of the future years.

Hold on to Galatians 6:9 (NLT), “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

In about an hour from the time I write this, my son will turn 19. I also have a 16 year old daughter. Research says our children’s brains don’t fully develop until the mid-twenties. I’m still getting to the harvest too. I get it. But I am far enough along in the journey that some of the harvest has been reaped, and I can tell you it is like a glorious breath of fresh air after holding it in anticipation for a very long time.

Whether you’re in the season of diaper changes and feedings, or driving lessons and college applications, you are their solid rock. In the years of growing from total dependence to yearning for independence, you are that constant which they can always rely upon.

You are their unconditional love, no matter what they throw at you.

Sure, they’ve seen you have your own meltdowns. Mine certainly have. None of us are perfect, and you’re not expected to be in the first place! Our mistakes and meltdowns are the soil for cultivating a forgiving heart and a realistic outlook at life in our children. They need to see us being real and a model of forgiveness, just as much as we need to be guiding them at how to be real and forgiving throughout life.

I’m fond of saying that you are so much more than “just a mom.” They need to see that too. If it sounds like I harp on self-care, it’s only because I experienced so many years of pouring myself into my kids that I forgot about me for a while. Sure, pouring into your kids is what we are to do, but we have to be poured into as well. Otherwise, we're running on empty.

The days aren’t quite so long if you’re taking care of yourself somewhere along the way. Even if it’s just 5 minutes to close your eyes and breathe deeply before everyone in the house wakes up. Whatever you can carve out in your season to take care of yourself, do it. For more encouragement in this area, hop over to Nurturing the Garden of Your Mind, Body and Soul.

Yes, the days have been long. Yes, I felt (and still do at times) underappreciated. Yes, I had my own meltdowns.

But I can promise you, this will pass, and you are an excellent mama.

So remember to take care of yourself throughout the journey, and hold on tight as your children begin to do things that will absolutely astound you and melt your heart. After all, they’ve learned from the best – you!


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