I surely don’t expect anyone to come to me for parental advice. Trust me when I say that I am no Ward Cleaver. (Show of hands: who actually needs to Google Ward Cleaver?) Like everyone else, I do my best as a father and hope that my children grow up to be caring, respectable, intelligent, men.
That said, I’ve really never been one to withhold my opinion. I’ll dole out advice on just about anything whether it’s asked for or not. Such as now.
Stop it right there
One thing I do tell new parents or soon-to-be-parents is something that EVERYONE seems to tell them: it goes by fast. The notion that one minute they’re babies and the next minute they’re graduating high school is absolutely true. Time moves at an accelerated rate with kids and it’s something that is very difficult to understand until one day you wake up and wonder “Where did it all go?”
So what I tell others is take a moment – every day – and just stop. Stop worrying about your own nap time. Stop thinking about ways to describe the poop-smell on Facebook. Stop planning the next feeding time two hours from now.
Just stop and stare. Try to step back and let the moment become a memory. Otherwise you can easily find yourself just focusing on the schedule: feeding, burping, changing, nap, tummy time, etc. As they get older: breakfast, school drop-off, school pick-up, sports, dinner, tv, and then bedtime.
Then what happens is that someday you’ll wake up and realize that the best recollections you have of your little child are stuffed in photo albums or burned to CD. Those are important, sure, but the best memories are lived; they’re experienced. They’re not digitally preserved on Instagram.
NostalgiaThis past weekend, the wife and I took the 5-yr. old Terror Twins to Wisconsin Dells. Just behind their addiction to anything related to Thomas the Tank Engine is the water park and this latest trip proved to be quite special. For me anyway.
About six or seven times over the 2-days, I looked down at Martin – the somewhat forgotten twin as I usually spend much of my time blogging about his brother – and found myself having flashbacks to when he was a baby and toddler. They were just quick moments where something in his demeanor or facial expressions or just his overall movements reminded me of similar times from years ago.
Then – as quickly as they appeared – they were gone. Yet each one was far more special than any picture or video I have of him. Those flashbacks were real and although they made me a bit sad, they also made me realize just how much he’s grown and how well on his way he is to becoming that solid human being that all of us hope for when we become parents.
My wife, in turn, reminded me that now’s the time where they will start creating long-term memories of their own. That five or 10 or 20 years from now they’ll look back on their childhoods and remember going to Wisconsin Dells, going down the water slides with their mother and father, and laughing hysterically while leaping from bed-to-bed in the hotel room.
In some ways, the cycle is beginning for them and I hope that someday they will be able to dig deep into their memories and relive some special moments with us; if even for second.