When you are so sick of stepping on the stray Lego in the middle of the night, finding a Barbie shoe under the couch when you're cleaning, when your daughter spills purple paint all over the brand new carpet (oh, yes, she did!) try not to lose your cool. Try to remember that someday there won't be toys in your home, except maybe the electronic kind. Try to remember that someday there won't be paint to spill because there won't be kids around to paint you pictures you can't recognize, but you love them anyway. And cherish the moment that you pick up the Lego (after you recover from the pain of thinking someone is surely trying to kill you!).
Today I rode my bike by the community pool. While it's not the same pool where I spent countless hours with my girls, I wished for those days back. Frantically packing up sunscreen, beach towels, combs and ponytail holders for long hair, snacks, water bottles. Where's the right flip-flop? I can only find the left one. And the swim diapers for the baby and, when they were a little bit older, a book for myself. Reprimanding them to stay behind the black line painted on the bottom of the pool because that was the "deep end." Clapping when they went off the diving board for the first time, catching them at the bottom of the slide. And I miss those days so much it makes me cry. I mean really, really cry!
My girls are 23, 20 and 18 now. The oldest is married! Married!! When I think back to the days lying out at the community pool, I can hardly believe that little daredevil who scared everyone with her tree-climbing ways is a wife now. And the one who I had so much trouble potty-training is in college with an amazing future ahead of her. And the one who had so much trouble learning to read sings like an angel and is getting ready to go off to the far ends of the earth to learn to be a worship leader.
Cherish each moment, dear daughter. Don't despise a single season of parenting. They really will be in college before you know it. And it's true, there are no "do-overs" in parenting.