“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
How did we get here so fast?
September 2019, the month that my baby boy starts school.
I mean, where did the past four years of preschool go? Did we accidentally lose a year somewhere along the way ? I’m not ready for him to be this old just yet!!
Honestly, a lot of days lately, part of me just wants to scream out ‘Someone press the pause button. Life is moving too fast…’
But then, in other moments, I look at my boy playing with his friends or excitedly trying on his uniform, and I remember that yes, he is absolutely ready. Our boy is growing up and growing in independence, and it is time.
It is time for him. But it still feels a little bit weird for me, because suddenly we are over the baby & preschool years, and it’s all just passed by much faster than I ever planned for or expected it to…
And so here I am, wrestling with it in my heart, swinging back and forth between being excited for this new stage, but also wanting to hold onto where we were as well.
Someone recently said to me that when it comes to parenting, the days move slowly but the years go by fast. And I think it’s really true. Because when you’re nursing or weaning or potty training or sleep training, it feels like Groundhog Day. Every day, you do the same things, over and over and over. And it can feel like that stage will never end.
But even as time feels like it’s standing still it continues to keep ticking by, and then suddenly it’s gone. One minute your knee deep in nappies and the next you’re dropping your independent little person at the gates for their first day of school.
And so I have to keep reminding myself that this is good and right and what it’s all about. My son is growing up and growing in independence and this is what being a parent is all about.
The truth is we don’t own our children, and they are not our possessions to keep forever either, even though when they’re babies sometimes it feels this way for awhile. But really they’re just on long-term loan to us from god and we simply have to love them hard, invest in them fiercely and then release them into the world.
Sometimes I feel like ‘er wait a minute, I didnt sign up for this. But of course I did, an in fact, it’s exactly what I signed up to, just as all parents do. Having a baby isn’t just signing up to have a baby but to raise a child too.
And I know, I know, my four year old is only starting his reception year at school. It’s hardly like I’m going to become an empty nester anytime soon. But it’s still the beginning stages of learning to let them go…
So what’s my advice?
Be as present as possible.
Resist the urge to always be mentally three steps ahead, wishing they would just sleep, or walk or talk or whatever… as tempting as it can be. And don’t be constantly on your phone to relieve the boredom either. Your biggest task is to love the child in front of you as best as you possibly can today.
Get used to change
The truth is that change can sometimes be hard on our hearts, but it’s all part of the deal. In fact, change is really the only constant to be found in parenting. So always try to be flexible, be ready to pivot, be open-handed, and be open to change.
Give yourself some grace.
It can be hard letting go or adapting to changes, so if you’re finding it hard emotionally, be kind to yourself. And be prepared to apply lots of extra grace – for yourself and for your child as well, as you get used to navigating this latest new thing together.
Finally, it you’re struggling with coming to terms with a new transitional stage this september – whether it’s a preschooler starting school, a middle schooler moving up to high school, or an older child heading to uni and flying the family nest, I pray you would simply know this: it is time.
It is time. You can trust in all that you have invested to get you to this point. Trust that the years that you have sown into your child up til this point, will reap a harvest in the next one.
You have loved them, you have trained them up, you have poured your life into theirs … and so you can trust that they are ready.
It is time.