When my kids were first born and when they were young, people would often say, “Treasure this. You’ll miss it one day.” Honestly, I thought they were insane. Why would I miss a baby screaming with colic, a toddler throwing an epic tantrum, or a child fighting to breathe from asthma? The good moments, I would treasure those, but these seemed like anything but a treasure. My children are much older now and I understand the reality of motherhood and the truth about seasons.
The Reality of Motherhood and The Truth About Seasons
What I wish they would have told me is that a child’s life is really divided into two seasons, the season of firsts, and the season of lasts. It was never about treasuring every single moment!
The Season of Firsts
This season is between birth and about ten years old. It’s filled with the little moments that so many parents want to add to baby books and write social media posts about. The first smile, laugh, words, steps, and so much more bring you joy. Even more than that, they fuel you for the hard days. These firsts are a treasure that is worth the admonition of “treasure it.”
When moms are being deliberate about their children, they make time for these firsts. A mom might say, “I want to be at your first day of school, hear the first time you read on your own, or watch your first time meeting Mickey.” There’s a magic in this season of firsts that can’t be captured later in life.
In the season of firsts, you are mommy and you are the center of their world. A kiss can heal a boo-boo. Nursing can calm a screaming baby. “One more story” is said ten times over until you think you can’t read one more without falling asleep. While this season is exhausting and overwhelming, it’s also beautiful in the many firsts you celebrate. You are getting to know your child and yourself at the same time!
The season of Lasts
The season of lasts sneaks up on you like a slow thief. It’s not as magical or as obvious as the season of firsts. In the beginning, you may not even realize this is where you are. You’ll celebrate the independence, appreciate a few minutes to breathe, and start to plan for a different way of doing things. The season of lasts is a clever season. It takes the firsts and transforms them from beginnings to endings.
Without realizing it, you will read your last bedtime story, have your last first day of school, and tell your little one to put their shoes on the right feet for the last time. One more story will be replaced with, “I’ve got this.” In fact, “I’ve got this” is the slogan of the season of lasts. It’s the mantra you’ll hear as you give the last big bear hug before it’s replaced with a well-meant side hug. It’s what will be said when you yearn to have them need you just a little.
As much as you are the center of their world in the season of firsts, you become the opposite of that in the season of lasts. They still need you more than air but they can’t say that and it won’t look the same way. Instead of “come let mommy hold you” it might be, “mom laugh at funny memes with me.” The little things will be replaced with big problems you can’t fix overnight with a goodnight kiss and the promise that everything will be ok.
The season of lasts isn’t all doom and gloom though. It’s beautiful. There’s beauty in the independence and seeing the person your child is becoming. There’s reassurance in a job well done as you see them make the right choice without your prompting. There’s pride as you watch them carry themselves so well into the world you were once scared to let them go into. There’s beauty in it. I promise there is.
Owning the season
I’m not a big fan of treasure it as a saying. I think as moms we need to be told it’s completely ok to feel worn down when we sob on the floor with cracked nipples and a screaming baby. We need to hear that we don’t have to treasure the tantrum in the middle of the store that makes us feel insecure. We desperately need to hear that not every moment of parenting is magical and some downright suck! More than anything, we need to know we aren’t alone in the mud of it all.
What I would say instead of treasure it, is to find the joy in each season. If you are in a season of firsts, celebrate those firsts. Celebrate them with your child in small ways and in big ways. Spend time on the floor playing dolls, tell the bedtime story one more time, or pull your little one into your lap for one more snuggle. Take advantage of all of these special moments that really do flea so quickly!
When you are in the season of lasts, still treasure it. Instead of seeing those lasts as a loss of the baby you once had, change it up. Celebrate those as wins. They may hurt a little as things change but the lasts mean you are equipping them for a world of new beginnings you can’t even imagine. Take a few seconds and grieve the lasts but then hold your head high knowing you are raising a strong and confident person who will one day change the world! After all, look how much they have transformed you over the years!