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The 940 Saturdays of Childhood

There are about 940 Saturdays between the time your baby is born and the time they move out, assuming they are off to college after graduating high school. Sound like a lot? 260 of them are gone by kindergarten. Oh man. Now I don’t know about you, but reading things like this inevitably sends me into a breathless state of  lumpy throated pre-cry oblivion. For the rest of the day I see my family in slow motion, kind of like a slideshow of beautiful moments, with this song playing in the background (that video isn’t even of my kid but I still want to cry, see what I mean?) and instead of being in those moments with them I feel like they’re already past and I’m just mournfully reflecting on them from some point in the future.

I have a real problem with what I call “senti-mentality”, or being obsessed with the fact that my kids are growing up faster than I can savor. I start to think about all of the sweet little thoughts and outfits that they have outgrown, and the words they couldn’t pronounce last week that they can say perfectly today, and my heart breaks a little. I read a children’s book once about how we as moms remember a lot of firsts, like the first bath, first time to the beach, first wiggly tooth, but we never know when the “lasts” are. I wish I could remember the last time I needed to tie Adeline’s shoe for her, or for that matter the last time my now grown-up baby brother asked me to come outside and watch how fast he could run. One of my 5 year old boys will still ask, when he’s extra tired, if I will hold him. I say yes every time I can, partially because I’m thinking, “Now this is definitely the last time he will ever ask. I have to remember it.” I’ll hold him, rub his back, and try to drink this “last time” in.

But this is where things get tricky. If I’m honest with myself, I’m not drinking it in at all. I’m too distracted. I’m too busy worrying that this won’t happen tomorrow to savor God’s beautiful blessing today. My dad has a talent for putting things into words, and he often says, “Remember, these are the good old days.” Wow. That fresh perspective always jolts me. Instead of being consumed by all the lost yesterdays, can’t I remember that I will one day look longingly back at today? And how do I want to remember it? How do I want my kids to remember it? I definitely don’t want their impression to be that mom was fine until the day got too fun or happy, then she couldn’t stop crying and taking pictures.

I think my current stance on it is this – moments/phases/days last exactly as long as they are supposed to. Any longer and we wouldn’t be as motivated to cherish them. And by the way, when I doubt that I’m not being an effective enough cherish-er, I think of another piece of wisdom from my daddy: “If you’re always worried you’re not doing a good job, you’re probably doing just fine.”

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8 Comments

August 5, 2013 · 9:22 pm

8 responses to “The 940 Saturdays of Childhood

  1. Many thanks for this post. You describe what I’ve always felt about parenting. We’re coming up on Saturday #389 for our youngest, and every second of every day is becoming precious beyond belief. And it’s funny, but I had a recognizable “last” moment just yesterday, which I savored. He has a beautiful tenor/baritone voice, and I listened with joy and sorrow to the last time I’ll hear him singing during his vocal lesson (our piano/voice teacher, who has taught our three children for 14 years comes to our house for lessons). Thankfully, mitigating the pain of the upcoming goodbye is the knowledge that I’ve intentionally worked so hard to appreciate every step along the way. Again, thank you for your reflection. -Amy

    • Sorry, I meant “Saturday # 939.” 🙂

      • Wow Amy, thanks for this. If I put myself in your place, knowing it was a “last”, I get teary eyed. I hope I can continue to intentionally appreciate, as you put it. Thanks again for your comment. Before you clarified that it was Saturday 939 instead of 389, I thought wow, now why don’t I keep track like that?! 🙂

      • That’s funny – too bad we always assume that someone else is being more “together” than we are (I know I tend to think that). In reality, that typo was a result of my numerically challenged mind and the fact that typing and tears really don’t mix. Re-reading your post is prompting a post for me today…I’d like to include sections of your piece as a tribute. 🙂

      • I’d be honored!! 🙂 Thanks so much. And yeah, you’re exactly right about the comparison thing. Sometimes it’s like we only assume the worst about people when we are talking about ourselves…

  2. Pamela Adkisson

    …just wanted to say this…as beautiful as it was, watching you grow from a precious child in “those good old days”…They can’t compare to watching you grow as a big sister and an amazing teenager, then an excellent wife,and an awesome mother. God has so many more beautiful Saturdays ahead of you. All My Love-M.

  3. Pingback: Beginnings and Endings | Depression's Collateral Damage

  4. DENNIS

    First of all, I love your blog – your dad alerted me to it via twitter. You are an amazing writer. Second, as a father of a special needs child (Jacqueline Paris, 9 years old) I came to realize years ago that I measure time and progress in the smallest of increments. Each and every moment is so precious. And because my little girl can’t do a whole lot on her own I cherish the small steps and progress she makes. I, too, question “what can I be doing better with my daughter”? Sometimes I feel guilty as I can’t be by her side 24 x 7. But then I am reminded of what God put on my heart at the time we learned she was going to be a special needs child – God’s words to me were “Your love for her is all she needs – so show it”.

    I look forward to following your posts, Kristen. Isn’t it great to have a dad who helps put things in perspective? My dad is the same way. I just talked to him yesterday as I have a stressful work meeting coming up on Monday. He has a way of helping me to see things differently – and that helps me to handle things even better!

    Regards,

    Dennis
    Trophy Club, Texas
    Longtime Von Erich Fan

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