I often find that as a parent I am shifting between two very different philosophies: Hurry Up! and Slow Down!
Throughout the day I can shift between these two opposite ends of the spectrum seamlessly and sometimes within moments of each other. We don’t get to hand pick our children’s development in the ways that would be most convenient. If we did it would be something like this:
Hurry Up! Stop sucking your thumb! You are messing up your teeth and are clearly past the age of needing it!
Slow Down! Please don’t outgrow sneaking into my bed each and every (freakishly) early morning. Waking up with your little arms around my neck and your soft, warm, legs intertwined in mine is a mother’s heaven.
Hurry Up! Develop the desire to maintain hygiene on your own. Brush your teeth without a fuss and shower each day because it’s the right thing to do.
Slow Down! You are right; girls are terrifying, annoying, and weird! Don’t cross that bridge to the land where boys and girls coo and giggle and break each other’s hearts. Stay here on this side with mommy; I’ll help you fling spitballs at those nasty girls!
Hurry Up! Start keeping your room clean! It’s like Toys R Us exploded on your floor. Your stuffed animals alone could qualify us for an episode of Hoarders and all the little plastic toys in every nook and cranny are one day going to rise up in an army against us!
Slow Down! I love your personification of your toys. It takes an extra 20 minutes before bed, but changing your American Girls into their pajamas so they can sleep well is a ritual I love. Taking a stuffed animal with us on every excursion is a habit that I’m not ready for you to abandon.
Even Especially when it’s a naughty dog that growls and snaps at people in public.
Hurry Up! Learn your reading, writing, and arithmetic! Catch up to the others in your class and be proficient; better than proficient…
Slow Down! Homework/Grades/Tests… it all leads to college. That’s ‘away’ and so very grown up. Can’t I just lay in bed and read picture books with you craddled in my arms? Lets sing and laugh and point out our favorite pictures.
Hurry Up! Read more parenting books! Take classes! Ask advice. They are growing up too fast and I don’t know what I’m doing. I make mistakes at every turn. Surely I’m permanently scarring them with my inexperience and stupidity!
Slow Down! Take a deep breath and enjoy. Somedays I get it right, somedays I get it horribly (oh so horribly) wrong, but they are being raised with love, compassion, and God’s Grace. Don’t let the fear of the future mar the miracle of today!
This picture feels like it was yesterday. It was five years ago!
“Slow down, you move to fast. You’ve got to make the moment last.” Simon & Garfunkel