The Last TimeWe parent our children and wrestle with the dichotomy of time.

In the daily tasks of mothering 4 small children, sometimes time stands still. It feels like the movie Groundhog Day; the same thing happens every single day.

The alarm rings and we rush kids to get ready and take them to school.

We endlessly clean up messes while trying to tame our grumpiness. We fold endless mounds of laundry and trip over toys. We go to games and help with homework.

We wouldn’t trade the gift of mothering for anything, but sometimes we just want to escape to a spa and let our feet soak.

And then it happens… those moments.

This will be the last time I will ever see this.

And it pains you.

Suddenly you realize that the daily schedule has turned into years and you better slow down and take a picture with your mind.

You want to remember.

You don’t want it to fall into the everyday category where it passes by and you don’t even realize it because it seemed like just another day.

Sure, you’ve heard it from everyone, how fast it goes by—that you need to enjoy these younger years as much as possible. They will soon be gone. But sometimes, when you are in the middle of it, you can’t see clearly until you are confronted with the realization, yourself.

How did I get here so fast?

Today, my last child learned to swim. The life vest came off. I will never see another child of mine learn how to swim.

Take a picture. Engrave this moment in my brain.

Soon, my youngest will be stepping out into transitional kindergarten. I will no longer have a little companion by my side every day.

I’m reminded to make these last months with her the kind of moments that will be remembered.

For me, that might mean setting aside the house chores to take her to a movie, play with her, watch her swim, interact with her and put my phone down.

Earlier this year, my 11 year old went to a birthday party for my younger daughter where everyone was provided a princess costume. I admit that I bribed her with five dollars to wear it, but I intuitively knew that she wanted to wear it.

I know that growing up means saying goodbye to some of the things you enjoy but feel like you’re getting too big for. I remember feeling like I was getting too old to play Barbie’s but still not really wanting to stop.

So I look at my 11 year old in the Snow White dress with her hair done up in a bun, and it just seems like yesterday she was 3, playing Cinderella with daddy, dancing with him until the clock struck and running away with her shoe.

This will be the last time I ever see her in a princess dress.

I took my children to a graduation party. They were the youngest kids there. I watched a slideshow of my friends’ 3 beautiful daughters. It seemed like yesterday they were the age of my children. One minute they were little girls performing in cute dances and now they are moving away to go to college.

I can’t wrap my mind around the passing of time and the way I feel inside.

Time feels the same to me on the inside.

Honestly, it seems like yesterday I was posing for pictures in my cap and gown with my best friend. But when I look at my progressing grey hair and my face beginning to wrinkle and droop, I’m reminded of time’s great

paradox—that it moves in both slow motion and fast speed.

I’m reminded that life stages sometimes feel like slow motion until you have a “last time” moment. That’s the moment you understand the fast speed button has been on without you even knowing.

It’s then that you commit yourself to enjoying the slow motion, to be truly present in it so that you remember how lovely it truly is.

Because you know soon enough you may look back and want to press the rewind button—if only for a moment—to bask in it’s preciousness.

How about you? What have been some moments with your children that made you want to savor time with them? Share in the comment section below.

The Paradox of Parenting


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