A friend with a stroller was walking through town when an older woman stopped her to see the baby. After admiring her, the granny said, “These are the best years of your life; too bad you’re too tired to enjoy them!”
Mothers with small children often hear this–at least the first part. We keenly feel the second part, wondering why the best years of our lives are so lacking in sleep. We try hard to enjoy the fleeting stages of childhood while fighting to go to the bathroom alone. If these are the best years of our lives, why don’t we feel like it? And if these are the best years, what on earth will it be like when they are teenagers?
My grandmother (the same one who told me not to pray) weighed in with some perspective. “Those years aren’t the best years,” she told me. “Yes, they are wonderful—it’s wonderful to have your small children around you, and you should enjoy it—but they’re not the best years. Every stage has good and bad things, and you will have good years all the way.”
Coming from someone else, I might have brushed it off. But coming from someone who enjoyed raising four boys and fostering multiple, disadvantaged pre-teens and teenagers, and who now loves watching border security shows with grandkids and having great-grandkids over for pancakes, it had clout.
If you’re feeling today like the “best” years of your life are getting buried under diapers and drowned out by squabbles over toys, take some encouragement from an older woman. Try to enjoy these years, because they do go by quickly. But don’t panic when someone tells you how fast your “best” years will be over: there are good years in every stage. Enjoy today; look forward to tomorrow. God’s faithfulness brought you through today with a smile from the baby, something funny the toddler said, and an encouraging call with your mom. That faithfulness will be there tomorrow and in the teen years, and every year until you’re done. His mercies are new every morning, and a year of new mercies is always be the best.