Different phases of parenting occur as your children grow up.
There is the baby phase which requires constant nurturing and caretaking. There is the busy toddler phase which requires a lot of energy and patience. There is the young child phase marked by their first foray into extracurricular activities and social lives. And then there are the middle years where their activities and social lives are in full swing, but they can't drive and still need chaperoning.
I am now referring to this as the "Hurry Up and Wait" phase. This is the time in our lives when our children are on a long leash, able to be independent under our watchful eyes from the wings. But they still need us in the wings even if they say they don't. So, we wait, and wait and wait ...
We wait on the sidelines of the swim meet, the volleyball tournament, the soccer game, the dance competition ... We play on our phones or iPads, do busy work on our computers, chat with other parents. And we are there when someone needs a snack, a dry towel, a fresh application of lipstick. And yes, sometimes we are bored, wondering if we are frittering away valuable time that could be better spent.
The answer is probably yes on the passage of time, but better spent? Not so sure.
When a child glances over and sees her parents waiting in the bleachers, she knows she is supported. And while most of our kids won't be Olympic athletes or perform on Broadway, they will hopefully remember that we were always there waiting for them, cheering them on in everything they did. I can't think of time better spent ...
(This blog comes to you from the sidelines of a three day volleyball tournament).
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.