It was getting so close I could hardly stand it. I remember sitting patiently in my hard plastic brown chair for what seemed like years before my second grade teacher finally announced that this was the last week of school before Christmas break. “Christmas break!” I had been waiting SOOO long for Christmas break to come. I remember how the classroom was setup and where I was sitting. I remember actually hearing my teacher make this announcement, and the excitement in the room afterwards.
In reality, I had only been back in school for three and a half months or so when Christmas break was upon us. But to a 7-year-old, three and a half months is an eternity. So much can happen in that sort amount of time, especially to a continually growing and moving 7-year-old. I bring up this story because my daughter is on the brink of turning 7 and I remember vividly how time seemed to pass by so slowly. Waiting for anything beyond today was simply torture.
Today, at 31, life is so different. Time flies by so quickly, and I can’t seem to get a hold of it. Summer is already passed the half way mark and there are so many things I want to do with my kids still! I am continually telling them, “maybe tomorrow” or “we don’t have enough time today, maybe next time” or “maybe next week.” Putting myself in my daughter’s shoes this week as I think about time passing has been an interesting exercise for me. I have had two realizations because of it.
First, when I tell my kids, “maybe next week,” that is simply torture for them. Next week is so ambiguous and it is just so far away. A week to a young child is just so much longer than it is to an adult. Second, being patient for something that may not happen is just not fair to them. I wouldn’t want to be sort of promised something like that, only to have it continually pushed back.
So my takeaway from this would be being more intentional. This has sort of been my theme for the summer anyway, but I’m now seeing it through my kids’ eyes. This doesn’t mean that I have to agree and schedule every single thing that my kids want to do, but it does mean that I need to be more intentional with my time. If I tell my kids, “not this time, next time” then I want to make a plan for fitting it in next time. If I tell them “next week” then I better deliver.
The summer months are busy and hectic, but I don’t want my kids growing up remembering that I never had time for them. They are only young once and making time for them is more than important, it is essential. I want to be more deliberate about scheduling in time with my kids and being intentional about the fun things that we do together. Life is short and I want to make the most of it. My kids won’t want to spend all their time with me for long, so now is the time to take advantage of that!