I remember how many people told us this when Hunter was first born. It was hard to believe, since he was a tiny little guy. In fact, I remember feeling a bit irritated every time I heard it. Ahhh, the joys of hormones and sleeplessness...
Now, what is it I want to tell new parents? The same thing. And I say it, knowing they are probably rolling their eyes at me. You just don't know until you have been there.
I look at that "tiny baby" who is now a pre-teen. I am beginning to see teen behaviors...the rolling of the eyes, the sharp tones indicating that I know absolutely nothing in his eyes. (Not to make him sound like a nightmare...he is a pretty delightful kid most of the time) He has a very fun sense of humor. And he reads books like "Phantom of the Opera." No more Dr. Seuss here.
I see that nine year old girl with her very unique sense of style. She makes us dessert on a regular basis (loves making brownies). She loves playing basketball and blows me away with her dribbling skills. I think in another few years (if not sooner) she will be looking at me in the eyes.
I watch that six year old girl who can read me books now instead of me reading to her. She empties the dishwasher like a pro and can sort her own dirty clothes. She is always ready for a good hike and loves her time at the beach as much as I do.
And then there is that three year old who is just a month away from turning four. He still requires a lot of help but even now I see that life is changing for him too. He gets dressed without much help (other than those tricky shoes) and washes his own face in the morning. I will suddenly hear music playing over the monitor...he loves to randomly turn on his CDs and sing with them. He tickles us at dinner with his stories about his day or his made up stories about the alligators under his bed.
Where did that time go? Wasn't it just yesterday we were holding our firstborn in our arms, watching his every move? Or dressing our daughter up in frilly little pink dresses and tiny little hairbows? (Now when is the last time I have "fixed" her hair???) Or carried child 3 around in a hip carrier, her little thumb stuck in her mouth the whole time? Or rocked our youngest, holding the bottle, watching him drink his formula to his heart's content?
I find myself wanting to stop time sometimes.
It isn't that I don't look forward to new stages. Our oldest is a neat kid...I look forward to seeing what he is like in four years. And I will admit there are times I really wish our youngest would be a little more self-sufficient.
But I know the times we have known are passing away. And likely, unless God gives us a BIG sign, will be not be back. We are passing on the clothes that our children have outgrown. We are about to get rid of the high chair and hopefully switch out the bedroom furniture for some of the kids. The girls have a more "grown up" bedding theme now...bright polka dots and stripes rather than flowers and butterflies.
I find myself pausing sometimes, wondering where the time has gone.
When I watch child 2 run up to the gym for her basketball practice, I swear I still see that little girl that toddled around our yard, trying not to touch the grass.
When I hear child 1 "announcing" football games for us, I hear the little toddler voice that sang the Arkansas Fight Song and call the Hogs.
As child 3 reads stories to me, I wonder when it was that I stopped reading stories to her (thankfully she still lets me on occasion) every night.
And child 4? I find myself sometimes just hugging him a little tighter, a little longer...if he will let me.
Enjoy the moments know.
They will be gone before I know it.