From "I Can't Wait" to "I Wish": Navigating the Rollercoaster of Parenthood

Raising children is a journey unlike any other—a rollercoaster ride of emotions, challenges, and indescribable moments of joy. As a parent, reflecting on my own experiences has led me to realize the shift in perspective that occurs from eagerly anticipating each milestone with "I can't wait" to fondly reminiscing with "I wish."

In the whirlwind of early parenthood, "I can't wait" became my mantra—a piece of hope through the sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, and the chaos of managing daily life with young children. Each new development, from the first smile to the first steps, seemed like a small victory, marking progress on the journey of parenthood.  I remember thinking:

"I can't wait until they are potty trained and are out of diapers."

"I can't wait until they can dress themselves."

"I can't wait until they start school."

But as my children grew and those milestones came and went, "I can't wait" gradually evolved into "I wish." I wish I could freeze time and relive the moments when they were small enough to cradle in my arms, their laughter echoing through the house like music. I wish I could rewind the clock and cherish those fleeting moments of innocence a little while longer.

This transition isn't a mourning of lost time or missed opportunities; rather, it's a recognition of the fleeting nature of childhood and the relentless march of time. It's me acknowledging that the moments I once wished away in exhaustion and maybe some frustration are the ones I now yearn to hold onto forever.

Yet, amidst the longing for days gone by, there is a deep well of joy that springs forth from the journey of parenthood. It's in the messy, mundane moments of teenage life that I am currently experiencing right now, that the true magic of parenting reveals itself, at least for me.  Though it mainly happens during the calm, surreal moments that I get to observe my child chart their own course and conquer their own personal milestones, it also emerges during the headed clashes between me (the parent who knows nothing) and my children (the teenagers who knows everything). 

Honestly, I wouldn't trade a single moment of the chaos and the struggle for anything in the world. I have come to realize that in those moments of exhaustion and uncertainty, and in the world of chaos that our family thrives in, there is also immeasurable love—a love that transcends time and binds us together.  A love that can be forcefully felt, but not always recognized.  We may not always recognize it in the moment, but it is there and always will be.

So, to all the parents navigating the unpredictable waters of parenthood, I offer this advice: cherish the present moment, for it is fleeting. Embrace the chaos, revel in the challenges, and hold tight to the precious memories that make up the tapestry of family life.  Soon, the infants will grow to toddlers... the toddlers to school aged kids.... the kids to adolescents... and the adolescents to adults.

And when the inevitable waves of nostalgia wash over you, remember that every stage of parenthood is a gift—a chance to witness the miracle of growth and transformation, both in your children and in yourself.  Absolutely in yourself! So, whether you find yourself eagerly anticipating the next milestone or wistfully reminiscing about days gone by, know that you are not alone on this journey.  Parenting is hard, tough, tiring, and exhausting.  But more so rewarding, precious, and a gift.



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