The four words are said after five minutes that feel like five hours.
The two year old, the four year old, and I are at the six year old’s school to pick him up for a field trip. I’ve told the two year old she can walk if she stays with me, but willpower is often hard to come by, especially when a long, empty hallway stretches out before you.
Four Words That Put Motherhood in Perspective
This is how I find myself sprinting down the hall, giving a cursory nod to a fellow mom as I pass, trying to catch a child who is curiously fast for having such short legs. She has already been warned of the consequence of not staying by my side, so I place her on my hip and walk determinedly back towards the six year old’s classroom as she kicks off her shoes and begins to scream in the ear-piercing way only young children can.
By the time we make it out to the parking lot, I am embarrassed and stressed, certain that every adult inside the brick walls has me pegged as a terrible parent. This is not the first time my child has lost it in this particular place and my fight or flight reaction rarely calms the situation.
The older two dutifully climb into the minivan and buckle themselves as I pull the car seat straps over reluctant arms. The crying continues, loud and dramatic. As I click the last buckle into place, a car pulls up beside me and a voice calls my name.
I turn to see the same mom I encountered in the hallway. She too has three children, but her youngest is the same age as my oldest. She’s leaning across the passenger seat so I can hear her through the open window. I don’t have time to answer before she says what’s on her mind.
“This doesn’t last forever.”
There is no judgment in her voice, no reproach; only understanding. She has been there. She gets it. More importantly, she’s gotten through it. The toddler tantrums won’t last forever, and it’s okay that I’m not enjoying every moment.
I breathe for the first time in five minutes.
“Like golden apples set in silver is a word spoken at the right time.” Proverbs 25:11
By the time we arrive at our destination, the local bounce house, the two year old and I have both calmed down. The older two run off with friends as soon as we’re inside and I once again find myself chasing the little one, but this time it’s okay. She moves from place to place, eager to explore, but always careful to make sure I’m within view.
She climbs into one, calling, “Mommy! Come!” and I join her inside. We race around the edge, and she tries to keep her footing as I try to bounce her around. Giggles burst from her with each tumble.
I glance around, hoping to catch a glimpse of the boys, but they’re nowhere to be found. There’s too much to do to be slowed down by a mom and a little sister.
But the little sister is right in front of me, struggling to her feet and giggling madly. I resume my chase as her tiny legs pump hard to get away while simultaneously waiting for me to catch up.
The four words come back to me and I realize that their truth extends beyond my previous situation. So I determine in my heart that although I won’t enjoy every moment, I’ll eagerly chase the ones I can.
After all, this doesn’t last forever.
Tricia the Good Mama says
Oh so true! Sometimes they can really drive us nuts, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t last forever. It’s actually amazing how quickly it goes. So, I guess we can only cherish the best moments and block out the ones that make us crazy (or just try to laugh at them).
First of all – 6, 4, 2! Sounds like the order of my kids – 4, 2, 5 months (each 2 years apart)!
Second, I totally get this post! And I have had many people at the stores or where-ever tell me similar words like that mom told you. And then you immediately start to feel better. So glad for those who have been there to be an encouragement to those of us who are “now” there.
Fun! Mine all just had birthdays so we’re 7, 5, and 3 now. Challenging to have them that close, but it has it’s benefits too! You’re in the hardest part (it DOES get easier!). You’re so right about the encouragers. I’m not great at speaking up to people I don’t know, but I definitely want to be one of those people who speaks a word of encouragement to someone who needs it.
Eli at CoachDaddy says
One sentence, multiple meanings. You had me waxing nostalgic at the mention of the allure of a wide-open hallway. I don’t remember the tantrums as much (my youngest is now 10), but I sure miss taking one step at a time and crawling into a bounce-house with a kid in light-up sneakers.
I’m glad you remember the good moments more than the bad!
Jill Ginsberg says
Awww, I just love this. I also have a two year old girl (soon to be three) and two older boys. So I felt so connected to this story, especially the part where the boys know to just get in the car and buckle up when their little sister is acting her age:)
Haha! It’s amazing how quickly they get used to the antics!!
Kirsten Oliphant says
I LOVE this!! So encouraging and the perfect words! I just posted about having a Momtra (like a mantra for moms) an this is perfect. I’m linking to this post in my post. 🙂
(visiting from the B2B group and sharing this!!)
Thanks so much Kirsten!
My son is six and I keep thinking that this time period is the best phase. Then he gets a little older and I forget the past with all its good and bad and love the stage he’s in right now. All that being said, I often rush through the moments because I’m (insert excuse/busy factor here.) I, too, need to chase after the grand times and try to just ease myself (and stress) with the frustrating ones.
I always thought I would be devastated when the baby days were over, but like you said, I’m finding each stage to have it’s benefits 🙂
Hormonal Homemaker says
it’s just little ole me Lacey Herron Lenoir, struggling with my blog but armed with parenting tips and advice… After all I have 4 ages 7, 11, 25, and 27… Crazy as hell is what I am but I gained lots of experience through the struggles! Love the Proverbs quote by the way!
Also remember that God give us precious babies… Albeit high demanding… So mothers won’t abandon their young. God gives you
Teenagers so you don’t miss them when they are gone!
LOL! I agree, each stage prepares you for the next one!!
Bonnie Leanne says
This piece was chosen as one of the best of this weeks Bloggy throwback. May we publish this on OBP next week? Thanks
Wow, thanks so much Bonnie! Do you do a roundup of your favorites or do you mean you want to publish the whole thing? I’d prefer not to syndicate it right now since I usually wait until pieces are a bit older to do that.
Bonnie Leanne says
We choose two and yes we syndicate it. I can get back with you later.
Herchel Scruggs says
I love this, Lauren. I repeat “this too shall pass” during the bad moments. I soak up all the love and hugs I can get because this too will pass and they won’t be so free with them.
J. Ivy Boyter says
Not only does it not last forever, we won’t remember all the times they drove us crazy like that. That’s how we get duped into having more than one baby. *doh*
Haha! That’s so true!!
Elizabeth Wheeler says
I definitely understand this. I only have an eight month old, but when she is screaming crying in public….that is my moment of embarrassed. I too enter the flight mode. I just keep reminding myself every one deals with the same thing at one point in time. I am getting myself ready for two years old… she’s going to be a runner. I can feel it.
LOL! Maybe she’ll surprise you 😉