"He's almost as tall as you."
I turned to see a young mom holding a baby boy in her arms. We were both in line to check out at the pediatricians office, her with her bouncing baby boy, and me with my two boys growing faster than I can keep them in clothes that fit.
I looked at my oldest, with whom I can almost stand eye to eye and nodded. "Yes, he is."
It wasn't that long ago that I was the new mom taking her baby in for those regular visits the first year of my son's life. Seeing that mom made me wish I could go back and tell myself some of the things I've learned since then. While my boys enjoy reading adventure stories of travels through space and time, it's just not an option for me. So instead, I'm writing this letter to you, young mom.
Dear Young Mom,
I see you with your sweet baby, gazing into his eyes, loving every coo, every giggle, and every move he makes. Can I tell you something people once said to me? Don't take it for granted. Enjoy it. Because in just a blink, he'll be standing next to you and you'll wonder where the time went.
Those nights when you are up late and you long for your baby to sleep and you can't wait until she finally sleeps through the night, don't wish those nights away. The stage will pass and that sweet time with just the two of you snuggled close will be a precious memory.
Those moments when your little one can't communicate and screams instead and your face is red when everyone in the store stares at you and you just want your child to use their words, that too will pass. All too soon, those difficult stages will be over. Don't wish them gone sooner than they need to be. It feels like they will never learn, that they'll never master potty training, they'll never remember to say please and thank you, that they'll never be able to put their toys away on their own, but they will. Be there for your child in those moments. Teach them and guide them. Don't give up. You'll have to repeat yourself over and over, but remember, God does the same for you. Think of your job as a marathon and not a sprint.
That load of laundry that is piled up and that stack of dishes that needs washing, it's okay to make them wait for a little while. If your little one wants to play and you can't get anything done, it's okay. Out of all the responsibilities you have, the number of calls you need to make, the errands you need to run, whatever task is left unfinished, it's okay. Because more important than those things is the heart of your child. Soon they will no longer want to play with you. Soon they'll no longer jump up and down and say "Story time!" Soon they'll say they're too old to snuggle or give you kisses or sit on your lap. So those tasks you can't get to, don't worry, they'll keep. But the time you invest in the heart of your little one, that's an investment in eternity.
Young mom who wonders if it's all worth it, oh it is! Every second of lost sleep. Every stretch mark, every sacrifice, every tear, every moment is worth it. God chose you to be the mother of the precious soul you hold in your arms. He has given you the privilege to love, nurture, teach, guide, and train that little one to know and love Him. It is from you that your child will hear of God's great love for them in Christ. Every prayer you pray God will use in his plan for your child's life. Every time you stop what you are doing to look your little one in the eye and teach them the way of wisdom, that moment is a solid investment. So yes, dear friend, from birth until the time he leaves home, every moment you invest in your dear one is worth it.
Take it from me, a mom who not that long ago, wished that time would pass quickly and who now wishes it would slow down, enjoy these moments with your little one. Even the hard ones. For God uses those moments to shape you and to mold the heart of your child. Use the time God gives you to pour into that little soul the truth about all He has done. Because before you know it, you too will wonder where time has gone.
Christina Fox is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She writes for various websites and publications including The Gospel Coalition, Today's Christian Woman, and Desiring God. Christina lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of seventeen years and their two sons. You can find Christina at www.toshowthemjesus.com, on Twitter @toshowthemjesus, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ToShowThemJesus.