I can't even begin to tell you how relieved I was to hear this. After hearing person after person tell me to enjoy every minute of my children while they're young, it was so refreshing to hear someone who is happy with grown children. It's almost like people are saying that once children grow up they can't be enjoyed anymore. I really hope that's not the case! I'd like to think that with every age, from birth through adulthood, there are good things and bad things, moments to enjoy and challenges to overcome.
Last night I had a long battle with Alec, which was the result of him losing his bedtime book after he procrastinated way too long. During this battle, he cried and screamed at me. He yelled threats at me, warning that, "If you don't read me this book I'm going to follow you out of my room and be noisy instead of going to sleep!"
Once he had finally calmed down, I lay with him as he fell asleep. I normally don't do this because if I'm in the room with him at bedtime he usually doesn't stop talking, telling stories, playing games, etc. But based on the book battle and his behavior, I knew how tired he was. So I stayed in bed with him and watched him fall asleep. And after he was asleep I lay there for a few more minutes just watching him.
During the minutes when I was snuggling with Alec and watching him fall asleep, I can guarantee you that I was enjoying every second. I was completely focused on the precious 4-year-old boy snuggled right next to me.
And there are plenty of other times when I fully enjoy every second of my boys. When Chase climbs into my lap and curls up with me, sucking his thumb and twirling his hair. When the boys and I are playing an exciting game of tag and all giggling, squealing and smiling with pure joy. When I watch Alec trying to help Chase with something.
But during the ten minutes of screaming and yelling last night, I can't say I was enjoying every minute. And honestly I really can't say that I enjoy every minute of parenting at all. I mean, I do enjoy being a mother, and I love my boys unconditionally. But do I always enjoy them? Absolutely not. In fact, too much of any good thing can become unenjoyable very quickly.
Take pizza, for instance. Pizza is a great food, and most people love it. But imagine if you had to eat pizza (or a different favorite food if pizza's not your thing) for every meal of every day for the rest of your life. Sure some days you could have pepperoni, some days you could have plain cheese, and other days you could go wild and have supreme. But no matter how much you love pizza, if you were on your 400th slice and someone was telling you to "enjoy every bite," I'm pretty sure you'd want to shove the pizza in that person's face. I know I would!
So when someone tells me to "enjoy every minute" with my young children, I have to resist the urge to tell them where they can shove their pizza. Because for every minute of snuggling, there is a minute of yelling. For every minute of thumb-sucking, there is a minute of crying. For every minute of playing there is a minute of fighting. For every minute of one boy helping his brother, there is a minute (ok - ten minutes) of that same boy beating his brother up.
|A moment that I am enjoying watching Chase sleep|
|Another Chase moment that is not as enjoyable|
I'd say I enjoy about every other minute of my kids at this young age. And I'm ok with that. Because the moments I don't enjoy just make me enjoy the other moments even more. I never would have enjoyed that snuggle with Alec as much as I did if it weren't a fight to get there. Sure I would have enjoyed it. I mean, what's not to love about a sleeping 4-year-old?! But the battle to get there made me appreciate it so much more.
|A moment where I am enjoying Alec lick his first beater (when he was about 2)|
|A moment later (when I took the beater away from him) I wasn't enjoying him quite as much|
Who knows... Maybe twenty years from now I'll look back at this post and want to kick some sense into my younger self. Maybe I'll wish that I had enjoyed the yelling, the crying, the arguing and the fighting. Or maybe I'll look at my grown children and enjoy every minute of them as adults...well, maybe every other minute.