Is there anything more precious than a baby’s delicious scent or the sweet sound of a toddler or the press of a child’s lips to your cheek?  There probably aren’t a whole lot that come to mind that can top these things.  As a parent, you realize that there will be a time in the not so distant future that these will be things of the past.

As you hold your newborn, you can’t imagine a time when he will test your patience by getting into everything, coloring on walls or throwing himself on the floor of a busy grocery store.  The thought of your toddler being a mischievous eight year old who puts worms in classmates lunch boxes is unfathomable.  It’s impossible to picture your silly, impish eight year old as a sixteen year old who keeps secrets, sasses you and can even be downright belligerent.

Children go through stages.  Some are fun and exciting.  Some are trying.  Some are terrifying.  There will be laughter, tears, trials, tribulations and exhalations.  There will be joy and there will be heartache.  And from newborn to toddler to child to teen, you are sure to lose sleep, sanity and if you don’t lose it, you will certainly gain gray hair.

The most important thing any parent can do is treasure each stage, each moment.  They are gone too soon, and one day when your child is hundreds of miles away at college or married with children of their own, you will look back and wish you could have stopped time.

Parenthood is hard work.  It’s expensive, and you’ll end up with a garage full of baby paraphernalia that you can’t bear to get rid of.  It is the most underpaid, time consuming, and often unappreciated job in the world.  It is also the most rewarding.  There is nothing quite as special as the hug of your precious baby after a long, hard day.  Enjoy every day.  The time you get with your children is priceless.