Embracing the Small Parenting Moments

January 18, 2012

Posted By: Shaunescy

Parenting is a funny thing.

While in the thick of it, it feels heavy and never-ending. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Hell, there is no tunnel. Only a hole.

I equate it to a hamster operating a wheel. You continue to run and run and run but you don't gain any ground. For the most part, it's the same routine day after day after day, with little to no respite in sight.

In years past, my days were jam-packed. I worked full time, commuted one hour each direction, was a wife, and mother of three. There were always a million things to do, fix, proof-read, clean, fold, wipe-up or put away.

I used to gasp for five minutes of alone time.

I never read a book. About all I could manage was to flip quickly through a magazine - from a random waiting room or while standing in the check-out line at the super-market with 30 seconds to spare.

Then suddenly out of the clear, blue sky, you wake up one day and things look very different.

Your oldest is out on his own.

Your second oldest is out on her own.

And your youngest child is taking an early class, driving himself to school, to and from practice, pouring their own food, and doing their own laundry (seldom as it is.) About the only time you hear from directly from child #3, is when he inquires about the balance of his bank account.

Practically overnight, this once-crazed, doesn't know if she's coming or going mom is alone.

I find myself eating alone, drinking alone {that's another blog} and wandering around the house only to end up outside my son's bedroom door, wondering if he'll open the door and speak to me if I knock.

A single word or two would suffice - human contact at the base level, which leads me to my revelation.

I miss kids.

I miss my  little kids.

Sometimes, all the quiet and alone time gives me a big, fat heart-ache. And once the realization strikes that those precious moments are gone, it literally fills my lonely motherly eyes with tears.

I have a friend, whom in my opinion, did everything right. She had a career first, and her family second. Granted, she is a slightly older mom, but she realizes and treasures the little moments with her children. And most importantly, she has the time to embrace them.

Time - such a precious commodity - and something I clearly did not make good use of when my children were school-aged. I ran around like a crazy person, placing emphasis and importance in all the wrong things. But, we don't get "do-overs" when it comes to parenting or how we spent our time.

My friend is always sharing darling stories about her young children, and I hang on every word. Recently, she shared her oldest daughter's sleepover "Midenight Snack List."

These are the small moments that are most treasured, and ultimately authentic. It's these small moments that in years to come are easily forgotten. Lost in a sea of gray matter, filed somewhere between, "What did I have for dinner" or "Where did I park the car?"

I was so proud of my friend for taking the time to embrace and share this small moment, this snack list, this moment in time - creating a lasting memory to carry her through the lean, teen years.

These are the memories that will comfort her when she finds herself wandering around the house alone, wondering if her daughter will speak to her if she knocks on the door.

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