When our kids are babies, we hear the words from moms of older kids. "It goes too fast. Before you know it, she'll be grown up!" We hear it but it annoys us because we're too busy cleaning up baby spit and dealing with colic that we think will never end. Then the terrible two's arrive and we have to deal with toddler meltdowns that make us want to hide when they happen while we're out in public. We hear the voice in our head about things going by too quickly, but the next thing we know, they're tweens and then the teen years hit. We're dealing with the sullen, moodiness that accompanies those years and quite possibly that is worse than baby vomit and colic.
We don't have time to think about the days that are slipping away and how we should stop and enjoy it all somehow in between the vomit, the tantrums and the moodiness. We're just too busy--at least that's what we tell ourselves.
Then the day hits and it's true. You realize it did go by way too fast. You remember the sticky-armed hugs around the neck, the slobbery kisses, the cries for "one more story!" and you realize those are now just long-gone memories. Even the tantrums, the baby vomit and the teenage moods seem like they (almost) never happened. The memories fade. You can now laugh about the time she threw up in her crib and you left it for your husband to clean the next day. You can now tell the story about losing him while on vacation without feeling the sheer panic you felt for those minutes he was gone. You can look at your now grown children and realize that you did ok.
They're both adults. They've made it. They're working towards their goals and doing a pretty good job of it. YOU did that. Of course, you had a lot of help along the way, but that knowledge and watching them become the amazing people they are is the reward you get for the baby vomit, the temper tantrums and all the moodiness.
And it's a pretty good reward.