Or so the saying goes when you are raising kids. I never fully understood it until I had one of my own. Looking at how quickly she is growing up, I’m constantly reminded to savor every moment, every snapshot of her in my mind. She makes me appreciate the little things, the here and now.
Before I had a child, I used to get frustrated when families would not implement or reinforce therapy at home. I’m sure those of you who are teachers out there have experienced similar frustration – with incomplete homework, parent no-shows at meetings, or limited reinforcement of new concepts at home.
Then, I had a child. Out the window went my sense of schedule and balance. And sleep. Even remembering what the pediatrician said at our last appointment was a struggle, so I had to write down any important reminders. I’m supposed to check for fluoride? She needs what shot next time? Don’t give her nuts until what age?
I now give my families more grace. Yes, my goals for their child still include high expectations, but now I recognize that each family goes through different “seasons” ~ perhaps a recent layoff, a new baby, or the start of elementary school has changed the family rhythm. Sometimes I feel out of balance in my own life, but I try to remind myself that it is just a season, and the important thing is to love my child for who they are and appreciate where we are at as a family. At the end of the day, regardless of disability, personality quirks, or developmental milestones, we have to recognize our children for the little individuals they are and the stage that they are at, and meet them there.
The child who talks incessantly about cars and scientists is an intelligent little kid who just wants someone to listen once in a while. The baby who is slow to babble but loves playing with his parent needs them to enjoy the moment with him. That isn’t to say that my “SLP brain” turns off and I don’t think of things to work on with the children I see. But allowing for a moment of pause, a moment of grace, in our busy lives, allows us all to just be where we are in our season. Our children need us to be present, in the here and now, and not always looking to the future. As a therapist, I see the future holding hope and promise for children. But I can’t forget that the present holds the moments of wonder that make it all worth it.