However, I want to explain to you young ones just why we say these things which drive you all crackers.
I have walked in your shoes, girls, and I have been at a check out with a screaming toddler and a sulky child, and one haring off into the distance. Too many times to count. I have wanted to tear my hair out. More times than I care to remember. I am lucky I have any hair at all, even though it
Every single one of those times when you reach the end of you tether, it is very likely that I have been through too. And to top it all, my husband was a career merchant navy officer and away from home 9 months of each year. I had 3 children in 12 years. You work it out. Life was not always peachy and saccharine sweet. It was like survival at times.
I KNOW what you feel. I KNOW what you are thinking. I KNOW how tough it is and most of all, I KNOW how close to tears you may well be.
I have been there too.
The tears - bucket loads of them over the years.
But loads fo fun and laughter and giggles and smiles too.
But I will still say to you, enjoy every moment. And mean it too. Savour the moments. The good the bad and the appalling too. Just appreciate them. Because, if you asked any of those little old ladies, who have clear and vivid memories of the reality of being a parent to little ones (and technicolour ones of parenting teens) - time does not erase the disasters - they would say that they would have those days back in a heartbeat. They flew by way too fast.
There is something that my friends and I talk about often - how we wish that we could, at times, turn back the clocks and have all our babes back in the nest, small enough to need us, and depend on us. The monstrous times and all. Here. Under my roof. Back home. In place.
Real life means that just cannot and should not happen, of course. We know that.
I am writing this in an empty house which echoes with memories. My husband is dead. My 3 children are grown and have flown the nest, and are all busy building lives for themselves - just as they should be. Right now they are in 3 different countries. I am a Granny to a little girl who lives a few hours away.
I remember those days. They were crammed with the craziness of life at top speed. Messy houses and paint in hair. Loud voices and louder music. Rugby balls and tennis racquets. Cricket bats and ballet shoes. Homework lost, and baby climbing the burglar bars. Wet bathing costumes and school uniforms. Hectic schedules and toast for supper because I forgot to defrost the meal. Toys everywhere, and lego underfoot (and inside the vacuum cleaner). Does this sound familiar?
What about sitting at a hospital bed waiting for your child to wake up after an op? Racing to A&E with half severed thumbs? Does this sound like I am remembering only a time of my life seen through rose tinted specs? Trying to balance budgets, racing around picking up, dropping off.......
No. I remember the reality, which was never perfect, not always in control, but which, from the perspective of my dotage (HAH) was a magical period. I loved it. I loved it then, I love it now. I love being a Mum. I wish, in a way, that they didn't have to grow and go, but that is what I raised them to do as I have said many times before.
It seems to be overnight that they suddenly become adults, you see - and that temper-tantrum-throwing toddler is suddenly walking down the aisle, and you get a panicky feeling which grabs you by the throat and you wonder, did I love enough, did I teach enough, oh, I need more time to watch, nurture.... But they are gone and soaring up there, and all you can do is stand back and learn to celebrate their separate, wonderful lives. And remember.
Time flies by. My mother used to say the same thing - enjoy every moment, because time flies and they grow up. I felt like you do when I say it to you now. I wanted to slap someone. Yeah right. Walk in my shoes for a day and you won't say that. Yes, sweeties, I would. We would. Because one day, YOU will be saying exactly the same thing.
Parenthood is not for wimps. Motherhood is not all bliss. It hurts like hell at times. You make mistakes. You mess up badly. You can't always cope.
Newsflash. Neither could your mother.
And she thinks back to those days with a little wry smile now and then too. Just like me.
Oh, and just for the record, I have pushed a total stranger's toddler throwing a monstrous tantrum around the shop behind his mother while she cried buckets and tried to do her shopping. I just told her I had been there, and asked how I could help. I have encouraged Mums in checkout lines with trembling lips. I have helped corral children on the run. I am not one of those little old ladies who look down their nose and tut tut re misbehaving kids. I am an expert in distracting kids. I taught for a while, for heaven's sake. You learn some tricks along the way.
I know. And so I say, with no apology whatsoever.......
Enjoy every fleeting moment, girls. Etch those memories on your hearts. Deep. Savour them.
Time flies by.
Linds (and I am not really THAT old. I am 57)