Many expressions people use in everyday life simply roll off the tongue, travel through the ears and are not considered profound enough to deserve a second thought. But one has started to resonate with me in a way I didn’t know was possible for words so commonplace: They grow up so fast!
Every time I hear those words, I am startled.
A typical day in my life includes preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, vacuuming, reading story books, bathing kids, making beds, running errands, changing diapers, combing hair, and scrubbing toilets. Then there’s getting to Quran class, ice skating lessons, and doctor appointments. Some days demand extra like when a child is running a fever and has a stomach flu, or when the pediatrician orders an ultrasound on your one-year olds’ oversized head. There’s also the teething toddler who is reverting back to his newborn ways at night, waking up every hour or so.
Other days will yet hold new surprises like when your five year old is suddenly having accidents, is refusing to sleep in her bed, and is afraid of the imaginary tigers that just might appear in her bedroom. There are the ever-prevailing power struggles of candy, television-and in my case-all things Disney Princess. Through all of this (and so much more), we are trying to plant the seeds of faith, kindness, self-reflection, self-reliance, and trust in God in the hearts and minds of our children.
The other day, I stopped to watch my children as they were playing. Instead of sorting the laundry or sweeping the kitchen, I stopped. As I watched my children playfully hit and chase each other, I thought to myself, I will never get this moment back. I will never again in my life be a 30-year old mother with two beautiful, lively, healthy children (alhamdullillah). One day, I may yearn for this moment and I won’t be able to even grasp its tail. I remembered just how fragile these moments are.
If Allah allows me to live to see my children grow, I don’t want to come to a devastating realization one day that they’ve simply grown up and that I’ve been sound asleep; that I missed their childhood because I was simply too busy for them or because I was careless in my priorities. And so I joined them in their play, and they welcomed it with that genuine, innocent enthusiasm that only children possess. Now when I hear someone say, “They grow up so fast, don’t they?,” I am awakened again. I am reminded to stop, look, love, play, and to thank Allah.
Hagar Emira lives in Maryland with her husband and two young children. She enjoys attending Islamic halaqas, reading, learning new things, and spending time with her family.