I realized the other day, that while I was missing and longing for those baby days of yesterday, I was forgetting how very much I was enjoying and relishing the days of today. The days with teens in my home. I would be remiss if I neglected to share how very wonderful it is to watch your baby become the individual he or she was made to be. I love this time with my older kids. Having older children means gradually, slowly, developing a friendship with your child...while not relinquishing your parental role of authority. It means sharing things like make up and clothes. It means learning, as well as teaching. Madison has taught me more about make up than I ever knew before. Peyton teaches me daily about the way one sibling impacts the development of a younger one. And Rhett...he teaches me that laughter is vital to a happy heart.
Having older children is also helpful in practical ways. Gone are my days of worrying about a babysitter being competent. I know my children can take care of each other. Gone are the days of me being a taxi cab. Yes, once competent and practiced, teenagers are valuable for runs to town for milk and eggs. I no longer watch Lifetime movies alone on the couch. Steve was never one for them. : ) Now, my girls and I giggle at the absurdity of them together. I no longer cook every meal or set the table. Madison and Peyton each take a night and plan and prepare dinner for the family. I am also blessed to watch my older children interact with and teach their younger sister Flynn. And...I am so thankful that my three older children get to see me parent. I am hopeful they will learn from me and take with them not only practical things but also the image of my true love for my vocation of motherhood.
Every stage of raising a child is wondrous in itself. The one thing they share is the swiftness with which they pass. Rocking a baby, holding a hand, pushing a stroller, sharing a blouse, laughing at a movie, hugging a son who suddenly became taller than you, crying tears of disbelief as one of your babes graduates high school while another graduates preschool...these moments are all blessings imprinted upon my heart. And while I will always miss those days of folding Dreft smelling onesies and putting a bonnet on a baby girl, I am embracing the days of new drivers and young cooks. And it is good.