So many mothers have been told this of our wee ones, a humble warning of things to come. Yet, it seems to be an unnecessary warning. Raising children is no walk in the park and anyone who expects it to be may be in for a rude awakening. The “just wait” warning seems a little overly dramatic to me after all these years.
Just wait for what? I want to ask. For the nights spent knee-deep in throw up? For potty training? For temper tantrums and slamming doors? No, the warning is usually in reference to the teenage years. Just wait, they say.
But I say, I can’t wait. I can’t wait to see the person they will become. Of course it won’t be perfect and neither will they and neither was I. But I can’t wait to see them blossom into young adults. I can’t wait to see who they become.
Teenagers get a bad rap, in my honest opinion. As the mother of two teens and 5 more future teens, I have to say that “just wait” warning is quite silly.
Here’s my spin on the “Just you wait” warning. Just wait until that tiny infant they placed in your arms looks you square in the eye and says, “I love you, Mom.” Just wait until you hold that teen, crying over something and you know they are still your child. Just wait until a teacher or a church leader or scout leader praises your child. Just you wait.
Sure there are problems and bad choices, temper tantrums and defiance. The last time I checked, it is really hard to learn much about life without making some mistakes along the way. That tiny infant has to grow up, that’s the point. Our job as their parent is to gently guide them through the minefield of life. To coach, direct, and suggest a better path. Whether or not they choose that path is up to them. Mistakes are ok. We all make them.
So don’t tell a new Mom to “just wait”, tell her that raising a teen isn’t any more difficult than the “Terrible Twos”, they are just bigger. Their choices are bigger. Their consequences are bigger, but so are the rewards. The pride at your child’s accomplishment is overwhelming. Those big gangly arms wrapping you up in a hug, well, you won’t be able to wait for that.
A simple, “Thank you Mom” feels oh, so good. As good as that first smile or that first “Mama”. That first conversation with your child in which you realize that they are becoming their own person, no longer reliant on you for opinions or information. Watching your teen grow up is quite simply an awesome part of parenting.
The next time a well-meaning parent says to you, “Oh, just wait,” feel free to say, “You know what, I can’t wait.”
Because there is a lot of good ahead. Just you wait.