By Melissa Wrubel
I have to be honest. I feel like time goes by a lot faster as an adult. I mean, I know that 60 seconds is 60 seconds, but I am almost convinced that the seconds are smaller and the days are shorter. I am not sure what has happened, but I can guarantee that I am not the only one who feels this way.
Back in the day when I was a child, I remember gauging how long something would take based on “Growing Pains” episodes. The popular late 80’s/early 90’s show starring Kirk Cameron, Alan Thicke, Tracey Gold, Joanna Kerns, and Jeremy Miller, collectively known as “The Seaver’s,” was the best! I loved this show and would watch reruns until well into my 20’s (don’t tell anyone that though!). As a kid in the late 80’s, I remember having to do all of the regular kid chores – clean my room, babysit, sit still for long trips in the car, wait hours on end until the time came to attend a sleepover party … you can relate, right?! Well, although I could tell time, I still liked to think about waiting in terms of watching “Growing Pains” episodes. Each show was a half hour long, so if I had to wait an hour and a half, that was 3 episodes of “Growing Pains.” I liked that method! It made me feel just a bit better about enduring the painful tick of the clock as time slowly trudged on. This all, of course, was according to my perspective. Looking back, I now wonder how my mom felt. She stayed home with us for many years, and to her, I am sure her days seemed, as she would say, “slower than molasses in January” on some occasions. But I wonder how she felt as her 3 little children needed her day in and day out, for so many things, as little children most often do. I am sure she was exhausted. I am sure that she had days that never seemed to end. I am sure that sleep was a luxury, and alone time was like a Christmas gift that couldn’t be opened right away. Yes, I am sure my mom had those days, as all parents have had a time or two. But she lived for these days. They were irreplaceable to her, cherished like a fine treasure. As we grew, my mom would remind us that we would “never know what it was truly like until we became a parent.” She was right… SO RIGHT! I distinctly remember the first few days after I became a parent. No one could have prepared me for what motherhood would be like. Well-meaning friends would give suggestions and tips about everything under the sun … but it did not come close to preparing me for being a parent. Three days after coming home from the hospital, I called my mom to specifically thank her for staying home to raise me. I had NO idea what a responsibility parenting truly was, and all of the work and selflessness that comes along with it. I honestly thought that I would be sleeping and feeding and scrap booking and changing diapers and peacefully resting in the quietness of my home. UM, NO. Parenting is work … hard work, rewarding work. I learned quickly that the time and love instilled in the life of your child is priceless. No other person on the face of the earth can fill their child’s life like their mom and their dad. My job mattered. My job had no monetary income, but the reward was worth more than gold.
Now, as I sit here thinking back on those days and the clock on the wall that ticked at the same rate it does today, I can’t help but smile. I am happy, blessed beyond measure to have been given time to be a stay-at-home mom. The saying, “the days are long, but the years are short” rings very true. All of the lack of sleep and nervousness about doing everything right, worrying about this or that … all of it was moments I got with my children. They aren’t looking for money or gifts, they want our time.
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These days, I wish that time would stand still. I just want to soak up every moment and feel each memory being created. I cannot stop time. I cannot go back in time. I cannot force myself to NOT be sad when I think about these things. But there is something I can do. I CAN be thankful for every day that my children are in my arms, every conversation we have had, all of the events we have shared together, the special memories we have to cherish, and the children who changed my life. I will hold them tighter now and be sure to be fully present when I am with them. I know in my heart that they are forever my babies … no matter what the clock says.