Or the coffee shop, or any other place where I’m with my boys and strangers are all around. This last week at least 5 people stopped to tell me how precious this time is, how these are the “best years of my life,” and how fast this stage goes.
Now, while appreciate that these women have good intentions, I think they fail to remember the many tantrums they dealt with, the poop explosions they had to clean up, how many sore throats they got from toddlers coughing in their face, how they never got to shower in peace, or sit down and eat an entire meal without interruption. I think they forget that they had to stop whatever they were doing to teach and train self-discipline. How hard it was to follow through on everything, every little threat, every little promise. I mean, I don’t think my kids are the only ones that get impatient at the grocery store at talk and whine and grab while I’m trying to find the best priced item and cross everything off my list. I don’t think my two-year old is the only one who throws himself to the ground kicking and screaming when he gets upset. I think my one year old might not be the only one who collapse to the floor and cries when his mother can’t pick him up right away. Do they forget how heavy toddlers are and how they had to do everything one handed?
Ok… I’m done. I think I probably could write another two pages of complaints, but I’ll spare you from my whiny thoughts.
I guess that when my boys are men (SO wierd to imagine!) I won’t remember all that either. I guess I’ll remember Tyler’s sweet voice saying “mommy, mommy,” and not the drama he emerges himself in when he hears the word “no.” I suppose I’ll remember Coopers “Thank you Mommy! Thank you!” before I remember his young loud voice hollering demands. I will think about how exciting everything was for them. The trash truck, airplanes, peanut butter… I’ll remember that their kisses were sweet, not snotty. I’ll think about how cute it was when they grabbed my face and talked to me with their nose pressed against mine and I won’t remember that they would cough mid sentence. I know that there will come a day when Tyler won’t even think about holding my hand let alone giving me a big hug…and then I’ll remember how much he used to like to be in my arms.
Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
I know that I’m in a season of my life that includes small snotty noses and a rod for training. I realize it includes small eyes discovering the world under my care. It’s a challenging time. There are moments that the boy asserting his own will and shoving it in my face and the child throwing himself to the floor with whiny crying makes me want to throw in the towel and leave. I also realize that there are great rewards for enduring these moments. And it will all be worth it.
But I promise you young girls out there; I know that there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” When I see you with your young toddlers at the store or Starbucks, or wherever our paths cross years from now when my boys are grown, I will have compassion in my voice, as I reassure you that these days are indeed good despite the hardship. That it is all worth it in the long run. And I might just buy you a mocha, or bottle of wine, because, Oh my goodness, I know that you will appreciate that in the moment much more than any advice I give!