Both my girls love to hear about the time when they were babies.
Lola likes to hear how the doctor was squishing her cheeks when he lifted her over the curtain to show her off to us. Miss C cracks up when I tell her she sounded like a little dinosaur when she was hungry. Or I share the horror stories from their toddlerhood, about epic messes at the dining table or hilarious anecdotes of them outsmarting Martin and me in their quests for independence.
They love hearing about a time they can’t remember.
I love talking about a time that seems like only yesterday.
Those were indeed golden days, when my babies were small and life was so simple. I can’t be the only mother who feels that way.
Of course, these rose-colored glasses aren’t so rosy that I can’t remember how hard and exhausting it was — still is! — being younger and newer to marriage and parenthood, but being as sentimental I am, it’s easy to get wistful and really miss those times when my babies were small enough to throw on my shoulders on a whim.
There’s a reason I dip into my archives once a week here on the blog, and share a post from the past. It’s fun to look back and remember when the little ones were little, especially now that my oldest is nearly as tall as I am, and more of a young lady than a young girl.
She’s a tween now. Very nearly a teenager.
And you know what they say about teenagers, right?
In a lot of ways, I sort of feel like what residents along the coastline must feel like leading up to hurricane season, knowing that a storm is going to hit, for sure, but wondering if it’s going to be as bad as they say? As destructive? Am I preparing enough to survive?
One of the Good Life recommendations is to “reminisce about the good old days, but look with optimism to the future.” Though I doubt the artist was referencing to life with children when she put that on her artwork, I think it’s definitely applicable when parenting a tween, and being in that stage between the golden years of childhood and the anxious promise of a chaotic future ahead.
There is plenty out there to remind all of us that life with teenagers is anything but golden. I was a teenager. I remember what it was like. Other parents talk. I’ve heard stories. I’ve gotten the memos. I’ve been warned.
Yet, I still feel optimistic.
Over the weekend, I took all three kids out to dinner at Chick-Fil-A. Martin was late getting home from his Air Force Reserve duty and I didn’t feel like cooking. Usually, all three kids scamper off to play on the playground while I sit at the table, but this time Miss C sat at the table with me.
When I asked why she didn’t go off and play, too, she shrugged.
“The little kids scream too loud in there. I’d rather sit here and talk with you,” she explained.
So the two of us sat there, talking about school and her best friend, and the challenges and rewards of a close friendship. We talked about subjects she wants to study next year, and things she wants to do over the summer.
She did most of the talking. I listened, though I admit to zoning out a few times, just wondering how in the world did my little girl grow so fast to be so articulate and concerned about these things.
At one point, I took out my cell phone to take a photo of her, and she flashed me a smile, and for a second, I could see the woman she will be down the road, God willing. The beautiful and charasmatic person who will change the world with her smarts and ideas, and probably break some hearts in the process.
Including my own.
But these teen years ahead with my daughter … and later her sister and brother … are going to be a sort of golden years, too, I’m sure of that, and my hope is not to merely get through it, but to be just as attentive to the details as I was when they were babies, and to be as patient, and eager, and joyful about it all as I was then.
One can be optimistic, right?