This year, my children turned six and four years old.
I am sure that many of you reading this think that my kids are still very small. And I suppose you’re right, except all things are relative. And to me, they are big. Unreasonably and unbelievably so.
They have now both transitioned into “kids,” even though they will both always be my babies. And, if I’m being perfectly honest, I have been spending much of my time over the past year feeling sorry that the past is over instead of being present and looking forward to the future.
My thoughts have sounded something like this: “If the years of kids being little are the best years, then is the best part behind me? What do we have to look forward to? One day, the kisses and snuggles will stop, and then what?”
My husband (always the more rational and positive thinker in our relationship) has spent a good portion of his time reminding me that kids are supposed to grow up and that I can’t let my sadness for the time that has passed keep me from being present and enjoying what is happening right now.
I have been attempting to take his advice, though I have found myself falling into all too many late-night trips down the photo and video rabbit hole.
But then, something happened.
This weekend my daughter had a dance recital. While she danced to the tune of The Greatest Showman’s “A Million Dreams,” the meaning of my life literally flashed before my eyes. My daughter, despite being still relatively small, has found something of her own that fulfills her heart. In her own words, “I want to dance forever.”
Time will tell if her love affair with dance will continue. If not, I hope she will find another activity that brings her as much joy. I am, for the first time in a while, looking forward instead of backwards. Will I miss the days of endless snuggles and chunky legs hanging out of a shopping cart? You bet. But seeing my children find out who they are, what their strengths are, and what gives them joy? That’s the stuff to look forward to.
Our children aren’t just ours, they are their own individuals finding their way in the world. Realizing that a phase in our children’s lives may be over might be bittersweet, but it surely is not a reason to mourn the loss of the past.
Today I celebrate tomorrow.