Week #18: Enjoy the Ride

After you have a baby, one thing most people usually hear is “Enjoy this time because they grow up so fast.” That’s supposed to help you overlook the challenging and frustrating moments that exist in early parenthood and remind you to appreciate that phase of your family’s life, complete with the constant cycle of eating, diaper changing and very little sleep.

And you know what? Those people who told me that were SO right. The time goes SOOO fast. When my youngest son was born, his older brothers were three months away from turning 2 and 4 so that whole period is a bit of a blur.

This week my youngest son turned 11 and as the Facebook memories showed up in my feed throughout the day, I thought back to those days and reflected on the passage of time. In the span of an average lifetime (which is a little over 78 years today in the U.S.), the 18 years that a child is under your care (hypothetically speaking) is such a short time. And the newborn period when you wonder if you’re ever going to sleep through the night again is a miniscule part of those years.

This week’s song, which is coincidentally #18, was chosen for this week both because my youngest son just turned 11 (which means our family’s newborn days were more than a decade ago) and in honor of Mother’s Day this weekend.

I wrote it as a reminder to myself that although parenthood can be really challenging, it’s also such a precious time and I felt it was important for me to keep that in mind moving forward. Hopefully sharing this song will bring strength to moms who could use a little encouragement while navigating the early days of motherhood.

I’m embracing the minivan days
Before they pack up and drive away
They may be messy, they may be wild
Someday I’m gonna look back at today and smile

Days are long, but the years fly by
You can’t flash forward and you can’t rewind
The world keeps spinning, I’m holding on tight
Gonna fasten my seatbelt and enjoy the ride

One of the most detrimental aspects of motherhood is comparing yourself to others (and comparing your kids to others). Everyone has their own challenges and you never know what a person is going through. Add a little sleep deprivation and a massive meltdown in the supermarket and moms can feel like they’re failing at the job. One thing that you learn as a parent is how little control you have over how things will turn out. Stop trying to be perfect and do the best you can. Most likely the other mothers who you feel are judging you are too overwhelmed by their own lives that they didn’t notice that your shoes don’t match or that your kids are creating a commotion at the park.

I’ve been chasing storybook dreams
With expectations hanging over me
I may be restless and running behind
They say someday I’ll reminisce about this time

We’ve passed through the single-digit ages, all three boys are now in middle school and now the oldest one starts high school in the fall. (We visited his high school for the first time this week, so that fits right in with this week’s song, too.)

From the stroller to the trike
Training wheels come off the bike
Soon they’ll drive away

Now let’s all join in and sing together:

Days are long, but the years fly by
You can’t flash forward and you can’t rewind
The world keeps spinning, I’m holding on tight
Gonna fasten my seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

Recording of “Enjoy the Ride” from 2019

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