By Megan Wirts
I don’t want to rush it.
That’s what I was thinking this morning as I sat on my front porch admiring my gladiolus, (or is it gladioli?), drinking my cup of much needed coffee. I don’t want to rush it. This summer, this day, this life. Any of it. I want to soak it all in and live fully in each moment.
My oldest is starting high school in just a few weeks and my baby isn’t a baby at all anymore, he’s a full fledged pre-teen. There is nothing like children to remind you how fleeting time is. l look through old photos and see their round baby faces staring up at me and look over at them now and see them looking practically adultish. I have a vivid memory of my son when he was just 6 months old at Christmas time. It was 3am, I was exhausted and had been up with him 2 other times that night. I was nursing him in our rocking chair next to our lit Christmas tree. I remember looking at his sleepy little face with his chubby fingers intertwined with mine, the glow of the tree shining on his sweet smelling skin, and thinking to myself, “Remember this. This won’t happen much longer. Remember this.” I can still feel the weight of him in my arms when I think about that memory. That was over 11 years ago.
I read somewhere that we only have 18 summers with our children, but that’s not enough for me. I want more and I want to slow it down. I want them to want to come home and visit after those 18 summers are over and I want 18 more after that. I don’t want to screw this parenting thing up. I know that I have and will make mistakes, but I do my best to own up to them. Like that time I was certain my child was faking sick and trying to get out of going to school and I was really grumpy and not so nice about it. So, I made them go to school and they ended up vomiting all over the bus. I apologized to everyone involved and I probably should have sent the bus driver a gift basket. I apologize to my kids often, maybe too much. Maybe I am selfish, but I hope that when my children turn 18 they come back. I want them to want their dad and me in their lives when they are adults.
The only way I know how to hopefully make this happen is to slow it down and listen to them. Listen to them talk on and on, in great detail, about the epic battle they had on Fort Nite, when all you want to do is pop in your earbuds and listen to that new book on Audible that you just downloaded. Listen to them prattle on about the new band that they love and how their crush likes the same band. Don’t freak out about the crush that they just mentioned, smile, nod and listen. Listen now because you want them to tell you when they fall in love for the first time. Listen to them now because you want them to tell you all the important things when they are grown. Listen to them. Slow down, put your phone down, turn off Netflix and look them in the eyes and listen.
I’m not perfect and I sometimes don’t put my phone down. I get sucked into to the social media vortex or down a Youtube rabbit hole. Sometimes I tell them that I love them, but please stop talking right now so that I can think. I am trying though and I hope that they see that I am always trying. Sometimes I fear that I don’t appreciate all the time I have with them enough. Sometimes I worry that I will have not paid enough attention or maybe I was/am too overbearing and helicoptery. Then I stop, take a deep breath and remind myself that I am doing my best. Sometimes I look over and see my kids snuggled up together laughing at Snapchat filters. Other times one of them is putting their stinky feet in the others face and all I hear is “STOP, STOP, STOP….MOOOMMM!”, over and over and over. That’s when it’s ok to put the earbuds in and not listen.
Even with all the noise and the “I’m bored” and “he/she is annoying me” moments, I still want to slow it down. Well, I might want to fast forward through those moments. Sometimes parenting sucks. Since I cannot control or manipulate time, (not yet anyway, c’mon science!) I will settle for slowing myself down when the moments are important or seem important anyhow. I will continue to stop and tell myself, “Remember this.”, when I feel like I need to.
I don’t want to rush it.
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.