22 of 100 Dads – Enjoy It!

Greg J. is the husband to Christina (100 Moms #19). This solid parenting team has tackled the teenage years and is now on the downward slope of parenting – with barely a scratch.

Greg is an encouraging and ever-present Dad, which of course is the type no teenager wants around.

I can speak for those of us who didn’t have this type of Dad, we ached for one. To have had a Dad like Greg would have saved me years of therapeutic repair without question. My heart heals a little just knowing this kind of Dad exists for others.

Greg’s love for his girls is the first thing you learn about him. He delights in their successes and quietly aches in their struggles. He is engaged and adoring, the last two things a teenage girl wants, but the first two things a teenage girl needs.

The largest parenting challenge for Greg, was knowing when to move in and when to back-up. That is a delicate dance, I’m sure most would agree. I think any Dad who is even, if only, aware of that struggle is on the road to amazing.

Greg’s dream for his girls is they have positive family relationships. He hopes they will grow into confident and successful young women, which is a dream he has already started to realize.

Greg, “Try to enjoy something about every stage of their lives. For example, at 4am, when they are crying and you are trying to rock them back to sleep, work is in a couple of hours, try to remember some day they will be too big for you to rock them back to sleep. Everything is temporary so find something positive to focus on at each phase.” Tip 1

I think a great deal about the wisdom in Greg’s first tip, “Try to enjoy something about every stage.” I vividly remember this advice, especially in the early years. It is likely the most common piece of advice I’ve ever received, and the most ignored. Everyone seemed to say it. I hated it!

Today, I’m a little wiser, now that I see how quickly the stages pass. I’ve become a little more skilled at enjoying moments. In my early years, I do wish I had taken that caution more seriously. It has gone by in a “blink.”

Whenever I heard, “Enjoy it. It flies by.” I felt the words were condescending, and complete bullshit. Regrettably, I wished time away.

I thought, I can’t wait until he talks, walks, wipes his own butt, sleeps in, goes to school, finds a job, drives, and graduates. I wanted freedom! It felt as if each stage was going to be a lifetime. I was dramatic, immature and so short-sighted.

Maybe my distorted perception had something to do with my age, my development, my fears. I thought the diapers would never end and soccer games would last forever. Whether it was one factor or a combination of many, my egocentric attitude prevented me from seeing things clearly.

I did cherish some moments, just in case there was any truth to the phrase. I recall pulling myself into special times I suspected might be fleeting. I slowed down during birthday parties, Christmas mornings, school concerts, evening snuggles, and oddly parades – when I had the mind to do so. I don’t know what my hurry was, I had nowhere to be. I certainly had nothing more important to do.

In a flash, my son was 25. I have nothing more important to do. I have no toys to clean up, no little socks to match, no bums to wipe, no concerts to complain about, and no soccer games to rush to.

I no longer need juice boxes, milk money or student fees. I never could have known I’d miss the lengthy bedtime routine, reading time, parent-teacher meetings, and even the relentless obligation of mealtime.

In what now seems to be a blink of an eye, all the expectations of Motherhood have vanished. Nobody is looking for me, needing me, or asking me to sign anything. It’s quiet.

Back then, things seemed in slow motion. In reflection, it feels as though days, not years, have passed. How I wish I believed the wisdom in the sage advice. I didn’t know the depth of the truth. I was quick to disregard many cautions.

I’m glad Greg is giving this message. I’m hoping others can better heed the warning. There is much to be gained by slowing down. In the moment the chaos, and seeming inconveniences of parenting, might just be the noise your heart aches for when the quiet settles in.

I’m guessing things are a little calmer and quieter for Greg and Christina these days. The silence does get loud sometimes.

I have come to learn, as the silence becomes comfortable the rustle of another stage fills the air like crispy fall leaves. Whether it’s a family celebration, a graduation, wedding, or celebrating babies the walls will vibrate again – with all the hustle and bustle a beautiful family brings.

Best wishes for all that and more. Thanks to you both for sharing your thoughts and a piece of your journey.

 

 

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