Ages and Stages – Wishing Their Lives Away

A pumpkin carved into a jack-o'-lantern for Ha...

This year for Halloween my youngest daughter, Bronwynn dressed up like a pumpkin. She put on an orange shirt of her dad’s over her coat and added a green flower to her hair. She was a pumpkin.

But she was a pumpkin with a twist.

In her hand, she had a bicycle pump. Attached to the pump with duct tape was a Ken doll. She was a Pump Ken! We thought it was incredibly clever!

Her middle school sister, however, did not! It was the most ridiculous embarrassing costume ever! Surely I wasn’t going to let her go in that!

One of our shopping areas, down near campus, had an afternoon Halloween event. The shops all had candy and the children could parade from vendor to vendor trick or treating. It was a fun afternoon. Pirates, Zombies, Princesses, Angry Birds all marched from shop to shop.

Our middle schooler is in the KState theater production of The Music Man. They were running a booth in the heart of the area to hand out candy and promote the show.

As we were walking the streets, asking for treats, Bronwynn and I ran into a young family from our church. We waited together in the waning autumn sunshine for the homecoming parade to start. They have three little people in their family. They youngest, dressed like a little cow, is only 18 months old. He ran out into the street and back again. He dropped his lollipop. His mom tried to get it before he could pop it back into his mouth. He had snot running from his nose. His mom ran after him trying to wipe his nose. He approached strangers and tried to take their candy. He tripped in the gutter. His mom, managed to nearly keep up with him and have a conversation with me at the same time. It was very impressive!

At one point, she looked at me and smiled, “I bet you don’t miss this stage of parenting!”

At that exact moment, I got a text message from my Mortified Middle School Music Man daughter. The text read, Please don’t come to my booth!” She meant, please don’t bring my Pump-Ken sister to the booth and embarrass me in front of my peers.

I smiled back at my friend and handed her my phone, “I bet you can hardly wait for this stage of parenting!”

Being a parent seems to be a thousand moments of longing, a long string of wishing. We wish our way out of the stage we’re in until we’re in the next one. When they are just potty trained…. Once I get them all into school….. Once they can all cut their own meat….as soon as they are old enough to stay on their own… once they leave for college…

I’ll miss out on so much if I spend my mothering years wishing it was all over…. I’m wishing their lives away!

Admittedly, I don’t have what it takes to go back and do those toddler years over again. But I’m determined to live in the moments with my kids; live where they are right now. I will laugh at their jokes. I will endure the count down until Halo 4 comes out. I will try to be patient with their fits. I will not roll my eyes when we’ve tried on all the shirts we own and still have nothing to wear. I will listen to the earnest pleas for the latest things they need!

There will be times when I will fail, when I will begin to wish their lives (and mine) away. But my hope, my goal is to enjoy the moments we’re in – the moments that make childhood just what it is – childhood.