My son has recently become obsessed with shoes. Not his shoes, of course, but Mom and Dad’s. We encourage him to explore (even when this leads to us tripping over said shoes), but we always remind him of the danger of trying to wear shoes that are too big: he might fall.
Isn’t this a beautiful metaphor for life? We spend so much of our time trying to rush our lives away to get to the good parts – where the shoe fits and where we think we will no longer fall.
Lately, I have been desperate for rest. Although my daughter sleeps well at night, she rarely naps, and I struggle to quiet my thoughts after her early a.m. wake-up. This inconsistent rest combined with an energetic toddler son leaves me hungering for sleep throughout the day. Last week my exhaustion led to despair, and I caught myself on multiple occasions not being present in the moment. I grew irritated at small things, and my kids began to internalize my loss of joy. It almost felt like I was rushing along their childhoods so that my life could be better.
The truth is, parenthood may lead us to a richer life, but our complete fatigue from caring for little ones makes it difficult to savor every minute we are given with our children.
When I tucked my son into his bed a few nights ago, it suddenly struck me: no matter how exhausted I am, I will always have enough energy to love my children. I will always find a way to hold them when my back and feet ache; I will always be inspired to smile when they need encouragement; and I will always want to read and sing to them before bed (even if my ability to sing grows worse by the day).
In parenthood, there is no crystal ball, and I think we are all grateful that we can’t look into every detail of our children’s futures. As a result, we are left to embrace what we don’t know, and the only real way we can do that is by breathing in moments with our kids that we are given today – to see them struggle, to join the struggle, and to overcome the struggle together.
If you are a parent and your child is with you, take a moment and look into their eyes. Tell them you love them; sing them a song or share a story; and stop worrying about the noise of life.
And as for that elusive other side, the one where life is greater: You are on it.