“They grow up so fast.” When my oldest son Leo was a baby I heard those words often, and I remember nodding and smiling at whatever older woman was imparting the advice and secretly rolling my eyes. What a cliché.
But it is a cliché for a reason.
It can be hard to focus intently on your kids as you are rushing, bleary-eyed, through the diaper days. I know it was hard to relish the funny way my toddlers mangled newfound words when I was answering the same question for what felt like the thousandth time. But before you know it, you will go from spotting your child on the toddler playground equipment to watching him guide a little cousin down the slide. In fact, I saw Leo, who is now 11, do just that last weekend.
“There are 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and when he leaves for college.”
Of course by the time I read that my two sons were already hundreds of Saturdays old. So I have been trying to really slow down and savor the moments with them, which sometimes means pushing my own anxieties about everything from dirty dishes to big work projects to the periphery. Join me, won’t you? And remember that not all of the moments come on Saturdays!
My boys, now 8 and 11, revisit one of their favorite kindergarten stories, The Lorax, at Universal Studios Florida.
Always put your own oxygen mask on first, before assisting your child.
This theme turns up often in the stories we run in Parents, and with good reason. If Mom and Dad aren’t taking care of their own health (mental and physical), it becomes all the more difficult to care for a child.
That means making time for exercise–even if it’s only a 10-minute walk–getting adequate sleep and enjoying the occasional date night, moms’ night, glass of wine or cup of cocoa–whatever helps you relax.
Eating healthy is another key ingredient, and more and more research suggests that when kids see parents exercising and eating right, it’s a major motivator for them to do the same. Which brings me to…
Our family joined a community supported agriculture group a decade ago.
For 23 weeks out of the year, we pick up a weekly batch of fresh produce grown by a local farmer at a school near our home. More than simply a food source, a CSA is a way to meet neighbors, feel a connection with the farmer who, along with his family, grows our food—and stay in touch with the seasons and growing cycle in a way you can’t do by shopping only at a grocery store where food is trucked in from hundreds of miles away.
In many parts of the country it’s not too late to join a CSA for the 2013 season. Learn more about your local CSA.