I have two very young children and people are always telling me to "enjoy them because these are the best years of your life." I always smile and nod, "Oh, I'm definitely enjoying it." And I am, for the most part. Sure, there are hard times. My three-year-old is in full-blown "threenager" mode these days. He can whine with the best of them and has attitude for days. And my two-year-old is starting to assert her will. Just try forcing her to sit in her car seat when she doesn't want to. Go ahead, try. I'll just stand right over here. There are moments when I want to rip my hair out and run away screaming because these kids of mine are as stubborn as their mama.
But most of the time I look at their sweet chubby faces and listen to their innocent giggles and I just breathe in a sigh of gratitude. I love this stage! With all the tantrums and whining and messes and screaming. I love it. At this point, my kids still love me and think I am just the best thing since sliced bread. They run to me with wide grins on their faces when I pick them up from school. They hug me tight and kiss me on the lips. They laugh at all my lame jokes and ask me to sing for them with my off-pitch voice. It's the best. And then I wonder: Are these truly the best years?
Sometimes it bums me out that these could possibly be the best years of my life. Time moves so quickly and I can feel these years slipping through my fingers. I'm trying to hold on but I can't. With each day that passes my kids get older and older. I can't stop it and I don't want our best years to pass us by.
Who is to say that the years to come won't be the best years?
When I sit down and think about it, though, I'm sure there are many more great years to come. I'm looking forward to taking trips with my kids when they're a little older. I'm looking forward to riding on crazy roller coasters and having deep philosophical conversations about life. I'm looking forward to meeting the boy or girl they have a crush on (OK, I'm actually not that excited about that) and seeing them get married. Heck, I'm even excited about grandchildren! Yeah, I totally am. Who is to say that the years to come won't be the best years?
Or maybe they're all the best years. Maybe the secret is to just enjoy every age and stage. Maybe you just have to act like every year you live is the best year yet, even if it's not, because maybe it will be.
I have yet to live through the school years, the tween years, the teenage years and the empty nest years. All I have experienced so far is the little years and I think they're the best, but I'm pretty sure the years to come will be pretty great also.