I’m always planning ahead of time. I couldn’t wait for my children to smile and interact when they were helpless, toothless, and drowsy newborns. I couldn’t wait until they started eating solid things. When they were old enough to chew through mushy mouthfuls of rice cereal, I couldn’t wait to bring them a snack from my purse while we were out and about.
I couldn’t wait for them to run when they were walking. I couldn’t wait for them to jump when they ran. I’ve spent my entire life waiting for the next major accomplishment, it seems. They’re savoring the highs of each achievement. I’ve already set my sights on the next goal after they’ve completed the first.
It’s mainly because I LOVE my children and like watching them try new things, learn new skills, and overcome new hurdles. It’s not because I can’t wait to skip right through their young years, though I’m afraid I’m doing just that, even if it’s not on purpose.
It’s just that I’m sometimes so excited to see who my kids will become that I forget to appreciate and love who they are right now. I put so much emphasis on the big things that I overlook the minor details. But the other day, I was reminded of how much I lose out on when I’m focused on the “important stuff.”
We’ve all heard the phrase “You can’t see the forest for the trees,” which warns against getting so caught up in the details that you miss the big picture. However, I believe I am doing the exact opposite with my children. I’m so excited to see them take each successful step toward adulthood that I sometimes forget to appreciate the beauty of them just being kids.
Snowplows and spiderwebs awe and delight children who are still capable of being awed and pleased by the ordinary things that adults dismiss. They soak in the glories of the world around them by focusing on the trees — sometimes literally — and each seemingly little experience is as fascinating and great in their eyes as the big events we record in their memory books.
I’m not going to stop anticipating the major events, but I’m going to make it a point to slow down and cherish the times in between — because it feels like I’ve already missed out on too much of the day-to-day while fantasizing about what will happen tomorrow.