"Sweet baby, are you hungry?" she utters the question quietly and tenderly.
"I know you are. You are such a patient little girl." Answering in her best mommy voice, she gently places the baby in a highchair and places a bib around it's neck.
But it isn't a mother who stands there cooing, she is still only a baby herself. She is my baby and she is growing up so fast.
So many mothers, far wiser and more experienced than I have hinted at it.This phenomenon that broadsides all mothers like a freight train. I just didn't really understand what they were talking about, but now am starting to realize how quickly time is passing and how I long to make it stand still.
Our precious little angel was born in April of 2010. So small and delicate at 6lbs 5oz. Almost three years later, our tiny little girl has become a bright ball of energy and wisdom, and it all happened in the blink of an eye.
In the midst of the whirlwind of new motherhood I was little aware of how quickly time was passing. Perhaps during the dim hours of dawn when I realized I had only been up four times that night for feedings instead of five. Or when I realized that her once tiny, little body that was swallowed by a preemie sleeper was quickly straining in every sleeper we owned. Maybe when the size 2 diapers were only shielding some of the blow-out poops. But those thoughts of passing time were as fleeting as the second of quiet mind space I had to think them, and I soldiered on not comprehending the immensity of the situation.
It all happened so gradually and so stealthily that it snuck up on me. Almost suddenly I have realized that my three year old is as wise as a 40 year old with the energy of an elf and I often find myself wondering, "Where has the time gone and how did this happen?"
And as wise as they are, none of those mature mothers, that have spoken of this time disappearance, have been able to offer a cure. They only have suggestions for how to slow time down a bit. ( Please note that I am speaking to myself more then any one else :)
1) Cherish - To say being a mother is a busy time would be the world's biggest understatement. In between diaper changes, dressing wriggling bodies, washing dirty clothes, walls, dishes, sticky messes, hands and faces, training up small hearts, and making meals, there is little time for much else. But we NEED to cherish the time with our children. We need to leave the clothes for a few moments and go play with them. We have to spend time simply staring at them playing, pretending, interacting and constantly changing. Take mental pictures and real pictures and cling to those. Because before we blink they will grow into teenagers who are playing much different games and will not want out kisses for boo boos.
2) Pray for them - A relationship is strengthened with a person you think of in times of quiet and solitude, times of anger and times of joy. Pray for your children, every chance you can. A woman of God is breathing out tiny prayers for patience and strength and wisdom with almost every breath. A mother should be praying out prayers for her children just as often. Pray for character traits you want them to develop as they grow, for their future spouse, their careers, praise God for the blessing they are to you and give thanks for them in ALL situations. Use a your quiet time to lift them up in prayer and use a prayer binder for ideas of what to pray. Pray for yourself and your spouse. That you would display Godly characteristics to your children. That they would learn who to be by watching you. Display God to them in all circumstances so they will recognize Him when he calls them to Him.
3) Record to Remember - There are moments of sweetness during your motherhood you will never forget. They will linger in your mind forever; their first smile, the way they uttered your name, "Mommy" when they were cuddly and sleepy. But there are other important moments you will quickly forget in the busyness of passing weeks and years. Take time to jot down special moments. There are different methods for different levels of dedication. Scrapbooks, baby books, photo albums or a simple free calendar from your local muffler centre. You may think you will always remember those milestones but you won't. You may think that such books are a waste of time but they aren't. What a sweet experience it is to show your daughter her 1st year scrapbook and have her understand what it is to be growing from that tiny little being into the heavy bundle on your lap.
4) Make Memories - In a world of Pininterest and Facebook, we are proud of the memories we make with our children. The problem is, we are more often documenting them than spending meaningful time with our children. At the end of our lives, are we going to be more proud of the amount of likes we had on a Facebook picture or how many shares we've had on Pininterest or are we going to be proud of the way our children turned out and the meaningful moments we spent with them? Slow down, shut off the computer and spend time with your children. Set aside your selfish desire to stay in where it is warm, and take your children outside at least once a day. Play with their Fisher Price barn and teach them their animal sounds in creative fun ways (even if it makes your look like a complete dork). The benefits are immeasurable. They learn to love themselves and others because of the love they see coming from you, they learn that they are worthwhile and adored because you would rather spend time with them than do other things, they learn from imitation. You show them how to play and share and learn and grow and laugh. You learn to be selfless and you learn to anger less often because your agenda is them and not them upsetting your agenda.
5) Little Is More - Dolls, felt food, cars, trucks, toys litter the house and for a brief moment they are entertained. I am quickly learning that more is not better, it is simply more. I can spend hours on KIJIJI or local swap sites looking for the newest best toy or that adorable little outfit. But again that steals precious time from my children. They do not need more material items to play with. They need you teaching them to use their imaginations and showing them how to turn a pot holder into a dolls pillow. They do not need you make a list of things you never made them or even need the things you did manage to make them. Balance is good and some of that is a nice outlet for you and a fun learning experience for them but most of the time it is just time wasted, never to be gained again.
6) Love the Lord - This may be the last listed but is by far the most important. Some of you may not think you know the first thing about being a good mother. Maybe you didn't have a good example of it growing up. You may fear your anger or your ignorance. You may avoid spending time with your children because you aren't sure. You may just suffer from a chronic case of selfishness or laziness. But we have a Father in heaven who is the ultimate parent. He teaches us everything we need to know about cherishing time with our children because the thing he wants most from us is our time. He teaches us how to love unconditionally and without exception. He teaches us how to give without thought to ourselves and he always forgives our wrongs. He is also able to cover our failures with cleansing grace when our learning from him fails and we falter.If we want to be good mothers, and learn to enjoy our children, we must first learn to enjoy our creator and father in heaven.
They do grow up so fast. Don't miss another moment of it.
If this interested you, please also read: How to Miss a Childhood by Hands Free Mama