When my daughters were much younger, both under 3 or 4 years old, I remember having a conversation with a work colleague whose children were grown. At the time I struggled with day care, diapers, nursing, evening schedules, work travel, and a host of other issues relative to their young needs. I told her how much I looked forward to the girls being a little older, how much easier it will be when they are potty-trained, can bathe themselves, pick up their toys, go to elementary school, and so on.
"Oh no," my friend chuckled with that all-knowing smile, "It gets harder and believe it or not, you’re busier. " While the puzzled look developed on my face, she continued, "It’s hard to imagine now, but it’s completely different. You’ll really miss this age."
Of course I wouldn’t believe her at the time. Would I really miss the diapers, the saggy body, the weariness, the struggle at mealtime, reading the same book over and over and over?
Now that my children are 11 and 8, I look back on her words recognizing the truth. In addition to my own schedule changing to reflect my work activities and personal interests, it also must incorporate my daughters developing school needs, homework, CCE, after-school sports, and social activities. This fall my older daughter started intermediate school, where they are raising the stakes by teaching her time management, a hard –though vital - lesson to learn.
During particularly crazy weeks I struggle to find some sense of calmness. Every minute of the day seems to have a purpose, require something to be finished. Whether it’s staying up very late learning not to procrastinate on major school projects, or coordinating how to get one to Girl Scouts at the same time Pastoral Council meets, or bringing both with me at the last minute to a reception where I’m the main speaker because my husband got stuck in traffic, I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going.
For the past three days I’ve found myself constantly singing this one particular prayer under my breath, finding peace in the calm chanting repetitiveness.
Calm me, Lord, as You calm the storm.
Still me, Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace.
Some moments I watch my sister/s in law managing their still-very young children and realize I really do miss that age. Those early struggles are forgotten, replaced with memories of pigtails and laughter. Every age of our lives is different; every year brings new adventure, new discovery, and new challenge.
Copyright 2010 Shelly Kelly
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