“You won’t believe how time flies as a parent. Savour every single moment.”
Prior to becoming a dad, this is the advice I was given on numerous occasions by friends and family members. Two years later, I’m finally beginning to understand what they truly meant.
It’s true what they say; as a parent it feels like life is going by in fast-forward.
As a father of a two-year-old, I’m constantly looking back and can’t believe how quickly time has passed since the birth of our first child.
I remember those long summer days as a kid where it felt like the days never ended; staying out from sunrise to sunset, soaking in every possible second of daylight and making the most of that free time.
Today, it’s like the entire month and sometimes the entire year is on fast-forward.
This seems especially evident being the parent of a toddler. Kids change so quickly and are learning so many things at such as a rapid pace in those first few years of their lives. I find myself looking back at old photos from only a year ago and thinking: “Is this the same kid?”
It’s odd, because I don’t think I can specifically pinpoint a two-year stretch in my life this vividly, but I can definitely pinpoint the first two years in my son’s life. As any parent can attest to, there have been challenges … but it’s all been worth it.
Occasionally, I’ll catch myself scrolling through old Facebook photos or family albums and start to get all sentimental about the early months of my son’s life. To think that many of them were more than 24 months ago just boggles my mind.
And now, the next big milestone is going to school; which is approaching much faster than I ever imagined. “He’s going to school a year from now?” is something which I confusingly uttered to my significant other not too long ago. A few months ago, that milestone was the furthest thing from my mind. But realizing how fast time is going by, that first day of school is going to be here much sooner than I could ever anticipate?
So how does one deal with this apparent rapid increase of time as a parent? The natural response is to attempt to slow time down, which at this moment, is physically impossible. But if any parent out there crafts a “time slower” made out of Baby Bullet parts and a Diaper Genie, consider me your first official customer.
Without the ability to slow time, the compromise is to simply savour every moment with your children.
It’s one of those grandiose sweeping statements which gets printed on motivational posters everywhere. The advice I can offer here is this; no matter how mundane or how stressful the experience or task is at the time, savour it … because you may never get that opportunity again.
In the moment, all you may want is for your screaming toddler to simply stop crying and eat their dinner. But later in life, you may actually miss those sobs of your son or daughter. And who knows; 20 years down the road, you may actually find yourself missing the task of changing dirty diapers (as crazy as that may sound right now).
“My concept of time as a parent is now completely shot”. This is a phrase I find myself saying in a weekly basis. It used to be “where did that week go?” or “that month went by fast”. Now it’s “where did that year go?” and admittedly, that’s a really scary thought.
The last thing you want is to put your toddler to bed one night and then suddenly make up the next morning to see your teenager leaving for university or college. It’s difficult to fathom time flying that fast, but for many parents … it really does.
I’ll be honest; the prospect of getting older and having my child grow up scares the heck out of me. If I could freeze time and have my son stay two years old forever, I would. But if that were the case, I would never get to see him go to his first day of school – play his first soccer game – go to his first Christmas concert – be there for graduation – his wedding – and other significant milestones in his life.
As a parent, the ability to be there for all those major milestones has me really excited. I’m not expecting to experience them in the very near future, but down the road, it’s something I’m very much looking forward to.
In the meantime, I’m going to take a step back and as cliché as it sounds, “live in the moment”. Whether it’s a laugh or a cry, these are experiences which should to be remembered for a lifetime.
Kids get older as the months and years progress, but our love for them as parents never wavers. As our children grow, our love for them only grows, too.
This story is part of our New Baby Guide. Check it out for more info on bringing home, planning for and surviving having a new baby.