Written September 2008
We were sitting in my mother’s happy kitchen last Sunday, the soft hum of the dishwasher signaling after-lunch peace, when my sister-in-law posed an intriguing question: “When are the good old days?” Her point was that we often look back at our lives remembering, through rose-colored glasses, the past.
Meanwhile, we trudge through our daily lives; and if we’re not looking back, we’re looking forward. We’ll be happy when the weekend comes. We can’t wait until vacation rolls around, then we can have fun. Maybe when the gifts are wrapped, the food prepared, and all the running around finished, we will finally relax and enjoy Christmas.
There’s nothing wrong with looking forward. Only sometimes, in the constant anticipation of what’s coming later, we neglect now.
As the mother of a toddler, time has existed in a strange warp the last 18 months. The first two months blew by like a tornado; fast, wild, and leaving a trail of destruction in the house! The next couple of months crept by ever so slowly while we dealt with nearly constant crying: Rafe’s and mine. He had colic, and I had postpartum depression. Thankfully, those months passed with the help of an army of support: good doctors, my unshakable husband and our extended family! Now, as I look back, I wish I could have spent more time enjoying and less time worrying.
The key, for me, is to realize that through paying bills, changing diapers, and trying to find the bottom of the laundry hamper, life is happening. Moments that I want to treasure happen all the time. Happy Saturday morning moments when Jason and I laugh hysterically at who knows what while we set up for a yard sale at dawn. Remarkable Monday lunchtime moments when the three of us play on the floor and Rafe says, “Catch!” for the first time. Or, moments like this one, when it’s almost naptime and my sweet boy brings me a book and climbs into the chair with me (the baby, not the husband).
It’s worth the interruption of whatever task I leave for later, because these moments are fleeting. It’s a privilege to catch so many snapshots in time. I make a vow to myself to stop worrying about what’s wrong with the car and how much it will cost to fix, and really pay attention to the bears in Rafe’s book. I’ll put extra animation in their voices and watch him smile at his silly mother, because the “good old days” are right now.