It may be an overused phrase, but it’s true. My oldest turned 26 this weekend. My youngest will turn 20 next month. The idea that as of this year all four of my children will be in their 20s is surreal—no more teenagers. The weekly routine that seemed so hectic is long over. No more wrangling them out of bed and getting them to school, sorting out school projects and homework, managing when and where they practice guitar and drama, travelling around the state to watch baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball games, or chauffeuring them at all times of the day and night to meet their friends. It is funny how you can miss what seemed to be such a draining season of your life.
Everyone showed up to the birthday party at the restaurant last night coming from different parts of a big city, and it was a little strange seeing four grown children sitting at the table. The only thing a little stranger was looking around the table at the other adults they brought as dates. On the one hand I feel fortunate that I happen to really like all of the non-family members who showed up. On the other hand, it was just another reminder that my role as a dad has definitely shifted. This morning, I am just stuck with this worn out cliché,“time flies.” You can’t save it or store it. It just keeps moving. The clock never stops ticking.
Here’s an interesting thought. From the time your children start the first grade you will have about 624 weekends before they leave your house for college. Remember, time is not like money, you can’t invest it somehow and make more. You can’t put the 624 weekends into the bank and grow it to a thousand. I am not trying to make you feel guilty if the weekend went by and you didn’t create a memorable life-changing event for your family. I just want to take a minute to say something to younger parents about time. Don’t take these days for granted. One day they will be over.
Become intentional about your time as a parent. Start making a list of things that you can do now that you won’t be able to do later. Here, I’ll start it for you:
- Eat more meals together.
- Create a weekly family night.
- Pick up a camera more often.
- Go to church as a family.
- Schedule a few weekend trips or hikes.
- Don’t stress as much over the messy house.
- Pause a little longer in their bedroom before they go to sleep.
Take some time while you still have it, and add a few ideas of your own.