Cannon: Trials of parenthood fade as time passes

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The other night over dinner a young mother I know said she hates it when people my age tell her that one day she'll miss the stage of life she's in right now. You know. The stage where you sometimes lock yourself in the bathroom just to get away from the kids. Only you can't. Because they slide their fingers underneath the door and go, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! What are you doing in there, Mom?"

"I can totally promise you," the young mother said, "I will NOT miss this stage of life."

I used to feel the same way when people gave me the "you're-gonna-miss-this" speech, too.


Did they really think I'd miss getting up two or three times a night? Or cleaning the kitchen floor after a toddler poured a gallon of vegetable oil all over it? Or potty-training someone who didn't want to be potty-trained? Or fishing another set of keys out of the toilet?

Did they think I'd miss my preschooler taking off his shoe and throwing it out the car window while we headed down the freeway? Or dealing with an epic meltdown in the middle of a grocery store or in front of the YWCA where my son and I once had a fight because I was feeling as desperate and crazy as he was? Which is why I told him if he didn't stop crying I would throw away his Ninja Turtles. Which made him cry even more. Which made me cry, too.

Did they really think I'd miss getting calls from the elementary school principal, telling me one of our boys threw a snowball at someone's head? Again. Or that I'd miss making school lunches every morning? Or nagging kids to get their homework done? Or listening to them argue with each other while I drove them to soccer practice? Or comforting them when they'd been bullied? Or bringing them up short when they'd bullied someone else?

Did people really think I'd miss worrying when teenagers took the car out for the first time? And all the times after that? Or that I'd miss the occasional visit from the cops? Or forcing another young male to read "The Scarlet Letter" for his junior English class? Oh, English teachers of America! You know how much I love you! But why are we still forcing young males to read "The Scarlet Letter?"

Do I miss any of those things? Does anybody?

I'm pretty sure the answer is no. You do, however, forget about them — especially as more time passes.

Instead, you're more apt to remember moments such as the wintry night you and your 4-year-old son (his slim arms tight around your neck) stepped outside, and he asked you why the moon was broken. And when you saw the crescent moon through his young eyes you smiled because yes! He was exactly right! Only a piece of the moon was there, dangling by an invisible thread from a dark ceiling of sky.

And it made you feel so alive right then to see the world for the first time all over again.

Ann Cannon can be reached at or