Friday, August 17, 2007

The Passage of Time

My sweet daughter is off this morning on her very first "official" babysitting job. I say official, because she's been asked to babysit several times before, but the parents have always asked to leave their child here at our home. I suppose that is because there she's under my supervision, therefore, their child is as well. Which is fine. But now, someone has placed enough confidence in her to entrust their very precious children solely to my daughter's care. And I'm a wreck.

Not because I don't think she'll do a great, no, fantastic job. She has gone through the Safe Sitter course, where she was trained in CPR and how to handle tricky situations like misbehaving children, minor injuries, safety, etc. She loves children and is terrific with them. In fact, when her birthday fell on a Sunday this year (12 being the magic age when you can work in our church nursery) she was so excited because she would be able to volunteer the very day she turned 12! She volunteered at VBS and I was told several times that she was one of the best and most responsible crew leaders I had in the preschool area. So it's not that I worry about her abilities.

The reason I'm a wreck is because this is a significant step in her becoming an adult, in my mind at least. No longer needing a caregiver herself, she is now the caregiver. She's grown so much in the last year. She often makes dinner entirely on her own. She can do her own laundry quite well. She's proven herself to be very responsible as she's taken on more and more responsibility with her education. She's beginning to set goals for herself. In short, she is growing up into a very fine young lady.

God grants us these children but for a very short time, in which we are to disciple them, raise them to be productive adults, and teach them how to love and raise their own family. I read a quote somewhere, and I apologize for forgetting where, but it said, "The days are long, the years are short." That struck my heart, because, yes, indeed the days are long as a stay-at-home mother. And when you homeschool, they are endless, it seems. While other mother's children go off to school, our's remain with us all day, every day. It can be exhausting. But never forget that the years are short. Most of us will have our children with us for about 18 years. That sounds like forever, but in reality, the time flies by.

It seems like yesterday that I had an infant and a toddler, nursing one with another one at my feet, while I stood in the kitchen, talking on the phone and stirring spaghetti sauce. Then as each moved into their school-age years, they seemed so grown up. And in just a few short years, they will each move into adulthood to seek out their own lives.

So moms, don't forget to hug your children and, even when you are weary remember that you have been granted a very precious gift - the gift of time.

And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” Hebrews 2:13


Katy-Anne said...

Wow I must admit I couldn't leave my child in the sole care of a 12 year old, no matter how responsible the 12 year old is. I'm sure she'll do an excellent job though. I'll be wanting my kids to still be babysat at age 12, although I plan on not going to places that they can't go too. LOL.

ValleyGirl said...

I think that so depends on whether or not you know the babysitter. I've felt very comfortable leaving my girls in the care of my cousin's very capable 12-yr old in the past.

It's so bittersweet watching your kids grow up, isn't it? You want them to be responsible, mature kids and yet you want them to need their parents forever. (Well, I can't honestly say I feel that way most of the time, but you know what I mean!)

My girls are only 5-1/2 and 3, so it'll be a while before I have to deal with this kind of thing, but I'm already noticing some pangs of some kind as I get ready to send the older one off to Kindergarten in 2-1/2 weeks. I even had an attack of nostalgia when I packed away all the out-grown clothing and brought it to the thrift store the other day!

I love the stages my girls are at, but I'm looking forward to the time in my girls' lives where I can be a little less parent and a lot more friend.

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

Katy-anne, I can imagine how you'd feel that way. But in my years as a children's ministry staff person and having worked with literally hundreds of volunteers of all ages, I can tell you that middle schoolers are actually some of the most amazing childcare providers. They are really into being with the kids, whereas many high schoolers only do it for the money and want to spend the whole time on the phone or online or watching tv. I should also point out that I live 5 minutes away from where she was and the mom's best friend, also from our church, lives next door. So she had plenty of backup had she needed it.

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

Tammi, I agree. It is wonderful to be a friend to your child. I have really come to enjoy spending time with my kids at a different level. It's nice to be able to have them understand that you, as a person, have needs too, and to have them try to help you out.

Leeann said...


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