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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

View From The Fence

Tuesday, March 5, 2002

If I had only turned loose of those obsessions years ago ...

There's something about being up at 3 a.m. with a small baby that helps you put life into perspective.This past weekend I had the opportunity to baby-sit my four-month-old great-niece.

It's been 13 years since I had a small baby, so I was a little out of practice. But changing diapers is like riding a bicycle -- it's something you never forget. I gave her bottles, rocked her and played with her.

As I performed all of these duties my mind wandered back and I remembered having small children of my own. It's funny how the years change things though. Instead of feeling frenzied and hurried as I had as I cared for my own children, I felt calm and relaxed and just sat and enjoyed this sweet child.

When my own children were this age I was young and busy working, and just plain surviving. The truth is the years passed by so quickly that it's hard to remember my sons being babies for very long. One day I was rocking them and the next day I was taking my oldest son to take his driver's test.

When I was up in the middle of the night with my niece I wondered why I thought it was such a big deal all of those years ago. She was only up for about 20 minutes, and it's not as if I sleep through the night without waking anyway. Why did I think sleep was so important all those years ago? As I sat up at 3 a.m. and gave my niece a bottle, I rocked her and studied her perfect little features. I looked at her little hands as they wrapped around my finger and studied her sweet face with its little nose and tiny ears. I savored the sweet baby smell and her cuddly warmth as I marveled at the wonder of nature and God's gift to us in the form of children. And I silently thanked Him for my two healthy sons. But most of all I wished the years would roll back and give me the opportunity to get up at 3 a.m. and hold one of my babies again.

There is so much that I missed because I thought many other things were important. I thought the house had to be clean all the time; I thought my children should be in bed at a certain time each night; and I thought their clothes should be ironed and their little tennis shoes should be spotless. I now realize that in the broad scheme of things these things were very insignificant.

These days my children are taller than I am. The house is not always clean (I still struggle with that one); they go to bed at all hours of the night on weekends; their clothes are seldom ironed and their tennis shoes are usually filthy. But what does it really matter? Now instead of killing myself around the house on Saturday afternoons I spend time at the golf course with my husband and children. If I had only turned loose of these obsessions years ago there is no telling what kind of memories I could have. Hindsight really is 20/20, and unfortunately by the time you see things clearly many things have passed you by.