Sometimes when we are out in public, say Applebee’s last week on vacation, I find myself glancing over at other families seated around us with a sense of longing. These are the families with two little girls, 10 and up, who are sitting together laughing, having a conversation, and eating. Food is not falling onto the ground, things are not cut incorrectly, sisters are not stealing each other’s food, and things seem pretty harmonious in general. Yah, yah yah, the teen years and what not, I get it. BUT, at this point the thought of having children that could handle a meal in harmony where I could focus solely on what to choose and then get to eat it!!?? Wow, that would be pretty fab-tastic.
I guess the problem we all run into during this life is that we continue to look ahead to the next stage, thinking the present is far worse than what is to come. When we are single, we look to marriage, when we are married we look to having kids, when we have kids we look forward to packing them off to college or helping them find their first apartment! There is also lots of letting go and dread along the way. Have you seen my husband’s face at the mere thought of one of the girls actually falling in love and getting married. Yikes, good thing he has some time to prepare!
Many of these families that I envy, you know with the self sufficient/self cleansing kids, I find looking over at us with the same longing look! What??? You people are in the promised land, you’re there, are you INSANE? But no, they really aren’t. Let’s face it, these years raising small kids are INTENSE (wow, I’m all about the bold words today) and push us to the limit, but they are so short. They are truly gone in the blink of an eye. I want to remember that, and know that I will not be able to scoop my girls up in my arms forever. They won’t want to, and frankly, they won’t fit.
So how do we keep perspective when we are losing our minds? I joke about it lots, but let’s face it, there are days when we all feel like we can’t do it anymore. At least I do. How do I, on those days too, remember the longing looks shot around restaurant tables across the world? I really want to, because I don’t want to miss out on what’s happening today because I’m so excited about what I think might happen tomorrow. Even though it’s good, bad, and frankly ugly at times, I want to lap it all up like a voracious dog after a nice long run with a faithful owner. That thirst, that pleasure, that insatiable desire for more. The desire for more when I’ve had all I can take of these sweet little one. I want to drink them in today.