Cherishing the Uncherishable Moments

 In parenting

If there’s one phrase of advice offered from older parents that I tend to hear more than any other, it’s “Cherish these moments, they go by so fast!”

I can actually still vividly recall the first time I heard this. I was pushing a green shopping cart through Dollar Tree with a screaming Joey inside of it. He couldn’t have been more than 4 months old and I was desperately trying to gather a few items I needed for an upcoming Christmas party. I was new to the mom game and determined to keep a semblance of normalcy by going forward with my usual over-the-top love for throwing holiday parties. Joey was wailing and I probably looked like I was out of my mind as I continued to push my way through the store with determination. At just that moment, an elderly couple approached me and the woman peered in at Joey and said, “That is the sweetest sound in the world.”

Lord, forgive me for my bad attitude, but my honest first thought was “Poor thing can’t hear anymore and doesn’t realize Joey is crying like he’s being wounded. She must just see the cute baby.” But she did hear him. She proceeded to tell me how much she missed the noise of a crying baby and how quiet her house seemed now that her children were grown and moved away. I remember feeling an overwhelming mixture of sadness, guilt, and annoyance.

Yes, annoyance.

Here’s the thing: so many times I feel the pull between desperately trying to remember to “cherish” each day with my children, and thinking that the day I’m in the midst of isn’t all that cherishable to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many days with my babies where I wish I could just freeze the moment in time and revisit it whenever I want. But then there are days when each child individually decides to mutiny against order, the house falls to shambles, and I’m left hiding in my restroom and praying for bedtime to come. Just yesterday, for example, my baby was battling an upset stomach that left me feeling like I had literally accomplished nothing more than changing diapers all day.

So what’s the answer?

I once heard parenthood described as long days but short years and that just feels so unfair to me. The days can seem to drag by when you’re in the midst of endless diaper changes, temper tantrums, and house explosions. But then you turn around and your oldest is about to start 3rd grade and you beat yourself up with guilt and remorse for not being able to better “cherish” the time you had with him when he was little. But is it even possible to cherish those days that seem downright uncherishable?

I think the answer comes, as always, in balance. There’s nothing to beat yourself up about if you find yourself hoping for bedtime some days. Let’s be honest, some days are rough! It’s only natural to want to fast forward to the end of some days. But let those days be fewer and further between than the days you really pause, embrace and, yes, cherish. You can start by putting down your phone in your attempts to capture each moment and to actually live in that moment instead! Really be present with your kids and remember the joy that comes from those special times. It will help you when you’re tempted to feel as if time has flown by without your consent and you didn’t appreciate it enough. Instead of guilt, remember that you lived each moment to the fullest.

So the next time you’re tempted to not cherish those moments that seem simply impossible to cherish, take a breath. It’s okay to not love every second of every day. But also remember to pause and take in the beauty that this sometimes crazy, out of control, amazing season of life is. Have a cherished day, friends!

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