ABC’s of Parenting Grand Finale: Z is for zip, zoom, zest, and zeal

I conceived the ABC’s of Parenting series back in March. It’s taken awhile, but now we’re at the end. (I can hear the sighs of relief from those of you who even realized that was a thing.)

Outdoor summer events have always been a family tradition for us. On one lovely summer evening when our three were tiny, we had them at an outdoor concert when a grandmotherly type stopped by our picnic blanket for a chat. “Cherish these days when they’re young,” she said.  “They’ll go by all too fast.”

"A Flower Fairies Alphabet" was a perennial (see what I did there?) favorite read-aloud for our kids.

“A Flower Fairy Alphabet” was a perennial (see what I did there?) favorite read-aloud for our kids.

I appreciated her words of wisdom, but honestly she didn’t have to tell me. From day one I was acutely, painfully aware that our time with those three amazing creations of ours was precious and all too short. Over the years while they were growing up I could never allow myself to imagine the time in the too-near future when they’d be heading off in their own directions. The stab to my heart was too much – it took my breath away.

And sure enough, the years zipped and zoomed by with horrible speed. One day we were up to our ears in diapers and baby food. The next day we were chauffeuring them around to activities from dawn to dusk. In the next minute they were out the door to college and new lives.

One of the things that makes this zipping and zooming bearable is the fact that we truly did experience our babies’ childhood with zest and zeal. We threw everything we had into loving them, helping them grow, turning them into responsible, amazing people. Sure there were plenty of times when I would have loved to just escape for a bit of peace and quiet. There were times when misbehavior made me despair of my parenting skills. But the overwhelming balance of our time together as a family was full of laughter and joy. And I’m thankful that we can look back over those zipping, zooming years knowing we lived them with zest and zeal.

In the words of Cicely Mary Barker of “Flower Fairies” fame, “Now the alphabet is said, all the way from A to Zed.”


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