Seasons of Life
From babies to teenagers, life goes by fast. We are all in our own seasons of life – and each one of them is full of joy and challenge.
Over the weekend, I was talking with a cousin who does not have kids. She said she is grateful to not have kids because of the trials. My response was that my kids are the greatest joy – even with the challenges they bring.
We all know, parenting is hard. Life can be a challenge.
Every child goes through seasons of life, and every parent lives through different seasons as well. Early career, young kids plus working, working parents, juggling all the things, then moving towards empty nesting and more. I have many friends who are now or soon will be empty nesters – and because we spread our kids out so much, I have twelve (12!) more years before that will be my reality.
As a mom, I am far beyond the Baby Time season – I’ve talked about enjoying every snuggle and savoring the time you get when your kids are little. My kids have grown through the toddler stages, and all of them are fully into big kid clothes and activities.
My youngest is about to start first grade, our middle will be a big 4th grader this year, and our oldest is a senior in high school. I am five months away from having an 18-year old.
Friends, it all goes by so fast!
Each and every age and stage has adventures, sassiness, learning experiences (for your kids and for you), joy, tears, happiness, life, and maybe some stiches or broken bones along the way.
I wrote a couple years ago about Adventures in Parenting, when the youngest managed to trip down the concrete stairs at the high school gym during a game. Kids will get hurt, but they also heal quickly. That same youngest child became our first to have a broken bone this year, and it was a doozy – but now we are out of the cast and brace, and her arm has healed up great!
Kids bounce back. They roll with all the things, and as long as we keep our cool and show or tell them how things will work, they usually just take on the things that come. I know – easier said than done sometimes. As parents, we react to the things as well, and we have real fear when our kids are injured.
This summer, our kids have lived their best summer lives. Playing with friends, hitting the pool, sleeping in (a little), and having freedom to decide what to do each day with the whims of the moment.
Seasons of life are more than the ages and stages of growing – there are also stages of maturity, learning, and figuring out how to deal with each other as siblings and with other people in different situations.
My kids have also hit the point in the summer where they are starting to look toward school and having a regular schedule again. They are fighting with each other, constantly. Our schools have some construction this summer, so we have a late start to the new school year – and I can’t wait!
I think that kids need regular schedules, and the continuity that school brings. Last summer, I argued that our kids needed to Return to School as close to “normal” as possible – and everything I wrote last summer still holds true.
Our school district was in person nearly all of last year. The teenager was remote at home for a week or two here and there, and our younger two were remote for one week in the fall. It was not completely the same as it used to be. Our kids ate lunch in their classrooms and did not interact with other classes on the playground. I do not know if those rules will change for this coming year, or if they are necessary at this point.
We have come out on the other side of a global pandemic, and the new seasons of life as we all try to move on will be a little different. I am hopeful that we can all move on and get back closer to how things used to be, across the board. To do that, we want people to be safe. We may have to keep some of the protocols in place longer than any of us wanted them to be around – plexiglass, spaced out desks and yes, masks, may all be part of our lives for some time.
My husband and I have been fully vaccinated since May. I am a fan of vaccines! We don’t have polio, measles, or smallpox in the U.S. because of vaccines. Some of our friends are not getting the shot because they did get COVID and have natural antibodies. And that’s okay. I am not a fan of mandates or forcing anyone to do things they don’t want to do. On the flip side, we all have choices to make, each and every day. If we want to do things and get out and live, the vaccines are the best way to get there.
There is not currently a vaccine approved for our young kids. However, multiple studies have shown that kids don’t get as sick as adults with this virus, and that they don’t transmit it as much either. Teachers in our state were one of the first groups allowed to get the vaccine earlier this year. As long as teachers are vaccinated, there should be no reason for kids to have to do remote learning this year – unless there is an outbreak.
This pandemic has been a major season in all of our lives. And it was a doozy! We have all been through so many new things over the last 18 months…and we’re in the home stretch!
Our kids have been through so much. In the coming months and years, I will continue to advocate for whatever is best for my kids. I will make choices and speak up if and when there are things that matter to our family.
Over the years, I have taken on many roles. I wear a lot of different hats, depending on the situation. Fundamentally, I will always be a wife and mother first. I am also a proud small business owner and love running my own little company. I advocate for work/life balance, families, working moms (and dads), and for my kids.
I am fully in the kid/parenting season that I call the “middle years.” My kids are big enough to reason with (mostly), to make choices about different activities and what foods to eat when we’re out and about (eating at restaurants or getting treats), and choosing special things to see and do. The youngest is also straining at restrictions because she has more rules and less freedom than her siblings. The middle has earned more freedom because he checks in when he is supposed to and he (mostly) follows directions. And the teenager is very mature, can drive herself and her siblings, and has been a big help to us, especially this year.
Each and every one of the seasons of life are exciting! I remember wistfully wishing for the time when I could go to the pool and not have to watch my kids every second. Now that I am there, I am thankful and also a little nostalgic.
Take advantage of all the times and adventures along the way! No matter what the challenges that each age and stage bring, enjoy your kids. Savor the little things. And love them, no matter what!
Our kids are the joy. Show them, love them, and point out that any boundaries we give them aren’t because we are being mean, but because we want them to be good humans. That is what matters most – raising good humans and modeling for them how to take on each season of life as it comes.
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