Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Enjoy Them While You Can

They call me "Slow Joe" for a variety of reasons. Chief among those is how long it took me to get married and have a family. I was almost 42 years old before my first child was born. When my wife and I had our fourth baby this spring, most of the people my age (I'm forty-ten) are starting to have grandchildren.

Whenever I talk to my contemporaries, and they look at my children (ages 8, 6, almost 2, and five months), they always get a wistful look in their eyes. They'll look at their own children, in their teens or twenties, and invariably tell me, "Joe, they get big so quick. Enjoy them while you can!"

And so, that's what I'm trying to do. #enjoythemwhileyoucan. (I really don't know if that's the proper use of a hashtag or not. Remember, I'm old.)

Already things are starting to pass me by. Within the past couple of weeks my five month-old son has stopped sticking his tongue out every time he smiles. It was incredibly cute when he did it. I'm glad I was able to enjoy it while I could.

I can still get him to smile pretty much any time I want to just by smiling at him, or making a clicking sound with my mouth, or holding him up to the mirror so he can see himself. I love to see him smile, and I'm enjoying it while I can.

He has some very cute clothing. He has a shirt that says, "I'm cute. Mom's cute. Daddy's lucky." He has another shirt that says, "Daddy's Sidekick," and comes with a little cape. He has several outfits that have a cute little something sewn over his bum, including a monkey, a monster, a football, and a baseball. I'm enjoying his cute clothes while I can. (No one over the age of three should wear pants with a monkey on the bum.)

Football bum! 
But, the baby isn't the only one I'm enjoying.

My almost-two year-old and I have a routine in the morning. She'll make some noise to let me know she's awake. I'll slowly open her door and play peek-a-boo with her a few times through the crack of the door. I'll get her out of her crib, take off her pajamas, and change her diaper. I'll put some clothes on her. I'll then stand her up on the changing table, and she'll give me a BIG hug. I'll then pick her up and hand her the pajamas she just took off. I'll hold her above the dirty clothes hamper, and she'll drop the pajamas in. I'll thank her for putting away her dirty clothes. I'll grab a bib. She'll say, "Bib! Bib! Bib!" I'll take her to the kitchen and put her in the high chair. I'll grab a banana for her. I'll talk into as if it were a telephone. She'll give me a courtesy laugh. I'll give her the banana and then get her some milk and whatever else we're having for breakfast.

We do this routine almost every day. She loves it, and I'm going to enjoy it while I can!

My six year-old son has big plans. He's going to be a master chef, a dentist, a construction worker, and an Olympic swimmer. All at the same time. He's very enthusiastic about his ideas for the future. His enthusiasm is contagious, and I'm enjoying it while I can.

My eight year-old daughter loves to read, and she loves to tell us about the books she has just read. (I probably know more about the "Percy Jackson" book series than anyone who has never read any of the books or seen the movies.) She also loves to write and draw her own stories. They're great, and I'm enjoying it while I can.

I really do love my kids. They are incredible, and I'm trying my best to enjoy them while I can.

And to those friends of mine whose kids are in their teens and twenties: Sure, they might not be cute little babies anymore, but they still can bring you a lot of happiness. It's never too late to #enjoythemwhileyoucan! (There, I hope I did that hashtag right.)

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