When I was a young woman, and especially when I became a young mother, I worried about missing out. I worried that my child would miss something, that there were experiences we would not have, sights we would not see. Did we spend enough time at the beach? Did he get enough opportuinties to swim? Should we visit the library, zoo, museum, festival one more time? Should we spend one more hour here before going home for lunch and nap? And what about all those classes he isn't taking? Art, music, dance, graphic design, molecular biology? Don't want him to miss those!
Now that I've been a mom for a few years, and have a few more kids, I have realized something. Each child is going to have a different experience. No one is going to see or do or learn or experience everything. My first child took a lot of classes, went to a lot of attractions. He was the first, the only. My second child has spent most of his time at home. I've been busy having babies and schooling his brother. My third is watching his brothers play sports everyday, listening to their lessons. And the fourth? Who knows what life holds for him. He will see his brother leave home before he reaches his teens.
When I just had one kid, I could only see the right now. I had no perspective. Time had not yet passed. But now, watching each kid thrive in a different circumstance from the last, I see things more clearly. None of my children has everything. None of them get to experience everything the world has to offer. Each has his own story. One is no better or worse than another. Just different and unique.
The pressure is off. I no longer risk a tantrum to get in just a little more fun. I don't stretch the budget for one more class. We can all relax and enjoy the life that we have right now, knowing that tomorrow, next month, next year, will be different. And that's OK.