I remember having a conversation with my Dad a few years ago when I was lamenting my oldest child starting school. As per usual, his measured words were golden. They took awhile to sink in, but now as I think about my family, I can see just how right he was.
“Bekki,” he told me, “There is no time for being sad. Watching your kids grow up is glorious. Every phase that you’re in is the best one.”
Did you catch that little gem there?
Every phase that you’re in is the best one.
“I used to watch you when you were little and think, “it couldn’t possibly get any better than this” and then, it did…every time. With each new phase of your life, it got better. When you learn to enjoy what you have in front of you, you’ll realize that this is the best. The now.”
I let his words sink in, and then asked, “But what about right now? I’m all grown-up. I don’t live with you anymore. I don’t see you every week. How can this be the best?”
His eyes twinkled and as he gave an ornery smirk, he said, “Just watch. You’ll see. Watching your child grow up – be happy – succeed…..there is no greater joy.” He has embraced the now. The right now.
This moment you’re living – this phase of life you’re going through – it’s all you’ve got. There is no going back and no way to fast-forward to the future. Embrace what is in front of you, seizing today for all it’s worth.
Your babies will grow. Life will change. As our children grow and we move through the many stages of parenthood, we need to lean in to what surrounds us. Soak up the magic of whatever life stage you are living. There will be ups and downs, trials and triumphs, and different situations we must navigate at every phase.
At times, our children will disappoint us. Sometimes we’ll wake up and feel as though we’ve failed. We’ll watch our children stumble, succeed, win, lose, grow, learn, and make mistakes. Your path will look differently from that of anyone else. You may be experiencing the highest of highs as you read this, wanting desperately to cling to every moment of the phase you’re living in. You might be wishing the little one in your arms would stay tiny forever…that the late-night snuggles and coos would never end. You may find yourself praying daily for your teenager – desperately hoping he/she will turn their life around. You may be wading through Legos, cars, and action figures – wondering if your house will ever be clean again. You might see your child struggling to connect, or connecting with the wrong friends.
No matter where you are at – if you’re the mother of a newborn or an empty-nester, try to embrace your now. Find the good. There is no going back. There is no skipping ahead. There is only the choice to bloom where you are planted and embrace today, or find yourself struggling to make it – emotionally and spiritually. If we want to truly thrive as parents, we must recognize each phase for what it is….the best.