Thursday, August 15, 2013

As we get ready to go back to school for another year one of those inevitable parenting realities has begun to hit me--my oldest will be 18 in ten years and possibly off to college, away from home.

The last 8 years have gone by so fast that I'm sure I'll look back on 18 and wonder how it happened. But in the meantime, I've begun to feel sad about it.

I want my children to grow up, don't get me wrong, but there is part of me that wonders if I'm still missing out on what is in front of me. Am I too busy? Do I pay attention? Should I care less about the other things in life like laundry, home repairs, etc., and more on coloring and barbies?

I suppose some of this is natural, but much of it is coming by the way of self-inflicted guilt. As my kids grow and change, I feel like spending time with them is more important than ever before. When they're toddlers they're happy generally anywhere, doing anything--at least my kids were. And they loved their daycare provider and felt just as happy there as they were at home. But the reality is I am missing them and missing out.

It's not a matter of job before family because I have a normal work schedule, but it's a matter of focusing on them when I'm off the clock. It's about making time for them whether it be dancing in the living room or playing dress-up for hours. It's about making dinners a little less complicated to spend that extra hour playing tag. It's about sitting down and listening to them; really listening and not letting my mind slip into thinking about the dirt on my kitchen floor.

This year, I'm going to try and refocus on my children so that I don't feel I'm missing out. I'll stay and watch them at ballet practice. I'll read to them every night or have them read to me. I'll play tag and we'll eat macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for dinner. But it will be okay, because they'll be happy and so will I.

No comments: