Friday, April 9, 2010

Growning Pains

Remember the old TV show, Growing Pains? I used to love watching that show. It was funny. True growing pains are anything but funny. They hurt. Whether they be the ones in your legs which kept you awake at night when you were a kid or the ones in your heart as you watch your own kids growing up.

It's hard to watch as each stage goes away never to be seen again. When the baby is no longer a baby. When the toddler is no longer a toddler. When the child is slowly approaching those teen years. Running toward them as fast as they can as you do your utmost best to pull them back and hang on just awhile longer. But it doesn't work that way, does it?

Lots of things seem to not work the way I would prefer them to work.

Why is it too, that we never seem to be able to appreciate things as they are happening? It always seems to be when they are over that we realize how great we had it or how we could do it so much better if given the chance.

I remember always being so aggravated at my oldest daughter. She would always, always leave her clothes either in the washer or the dryer. It drove me crazy. Until of course the day after her wedding. When I went to put a load of laundry in the washing machine and there was a load of her laundry. But I wasn't aggravated. I was sad. I started crying. This would be the last time I would find her laundry in my washer. A milestone. A growing pain.

I remember that first year of homeschooling. It was a little daunting. I really didn't know what I was doing. Every morning as the day stretched before me I would meet it with dread. And now as I look to the last few weeks of homeschooling with that same child I'm so sad. How can it be almost over? And why didn't I just enjoy it more in the beginning?

And it hit me like a ton of bricks this past summer. Time with my kids at home is coming to a close. My youngest is almost 15! How did that happen?

Gone are the days of all those simple family outings. Things like collecting fall leaves. Trips to the pumpkin patch. Afternoons in the park. Hunting for rocks. Bird watching. Feeding the ducks. Crafting around the dining room table. Silly science experiments. Museum trips. Gardening. Made-up backyard games.

These are things that defined me for a lot of years. And now I need to find a new definition.

Is this the day I looked forward to when babies were crying and toddlers were whining? Is this the day I looked forward to when sleepless nights stacked up like pancakes? Is this the day I looked forward to when siblings argued and drove me crazy? Is this the day I looked forward to when the house was always cluttered with toys? Is this the day I looked forward to when teenagers where moody?

I think it must be, but I'm not so sure I want it anymore.