Enjoy the moment
> Parents should spend more quality time with their children and share happy moments with them before they become teenagers
AS RESEARCH for my next book, I dug up old documents and files in my cabinets. I came across photos taken during a talk to promote my second book, Life’s Like That.
It was 2004 then, and no. 3 was just seven years old. He mingled with the crowd of readers. At another function, he handed out Mandarin oranges to audience members who could answer quiz questions.
As I looked at those photos, I was overwhelmed by nostalgia. That sweet, funny boy is all grown up now.
“What happened?” I asked no. 4 who at 15, is thankfully still sweet, though she has taken to rolling her eyes. “Life happened,” she said. At this point in my life, when my children are between 15 and 26 years old, I can afford to get melancholic; I miss their young innocence and childish exploits.
When I was young, older women used to advise me to enjoy the kids while they were young, because “before you know it, they’ll be all grown”.
Author and mother of four, Dorothy Evslin once said: “It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall will appear higher and higher, and then suddenly they disappear.”
If I had read that quotation when my kids were clambering all over me, I would have retorted: “Great! Finally, I will get a clean wall.”
Trust me, when you are taking care of four children between the ages of one and 12, all you wish is for them to grow up quickly!
For me, squeezing out time for writing in between preparing and cooking meals, laundering, chauffeuring the kids to school, helping them with their homework, and getting chores done, was exhausting.
Young parents, I do know how you would feel if an older person with teens or grown-up children dishes out platitudes about enjoying your kids while they’re young.
Yes, you want to scream that it will be a good 10 years for you to ‘enjoy’ the kids who are fighting over toys, and about whose turn it is to play on the iPad, who won’t eat their greens, and whose room looks like a twister has ravaged it.
But don’t. Just smile and accept their words of wisdom. When your own kids are grown, you will be the one dishing out that sage advice to younger parents.
In the meantime, relish your kids’ childhood. Play with them while they still want to play with you. Talk to them while your voice is music to their ears. Take them for outings while they still crave your company.
There will be bad days when everything seems to go wrong: The toast is burnt, the baby smears poo all over the sofa, the toddler falls down the stairs, the boy gets an F in Math, you fight with your spouse, and just when you are about to collapse into bed, the electricity goes out.
Accept the bad days along with the good. No matter how tough the situation is, tell yourself that this, too, will come to pass. There is a saying: “Breathe. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.”
Lydia Teh is a mother of four and author of nine books, including the latest, Cow Sense for Young People. Send comments to lifestyle.lydia@ thesundaily.com.