Updated: Feb 16
Paul and I are staying at our favourite downtown hotel for a few nights. Across the hall is a family with small children who we can hear through the thin walls. Squeals of laughter, high-pitched requests for this or that, thumping feet. On a bad day, I would consider this annoying at 8:00 in the morning but instead I am finding the sounds of delighted children rather, well, delightful. It takes some effort to crack a smile on my face these days but I am not so far gone that I can't appreciate the good things about being human.
If you are a parent, you will remember those early mornings with small children who, instantly upon opening their eyes, are ON. Going full blast, talking a mile a minute, telling stories, following you around the kitchen as you prepare breakfast. Or, maybe you plunked them down in front of the TV for Saturday morning cartoons just so you could have quiet cup of coffee to yourself before your day officially started. In the thick of all that, I remember dreaming about the time I would be able to wake at my own pace, lie around in bed, read a book or the newspaper, and slip gently into the day ahead.
Hectic is not my pace. My brain takes a while to warm up. Thankfully, a morning routine is so often performed that one can sleepwalk through most of it. On the other hand, those are some of the moments I miss now that I am older and my children are well and truly out of the house. Their very presence was a hard thing to give up. I had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom for the first ten years of their lives. It was the hardest thing I've ever done and I am so grateful I did it.
It seems that no matter what phase of life we are in, we wish we were in another one. There is something painfully bittersweet about looking back and reaching forward, pining for what isn't, while trying to befriend what is. When M&P were little, people often said, Enjoy them now when you can; these days go by so fast. But all I could think was that I was too damn busy to enjoy them. And that's a tragedy.
I miss my children. I mean, we talk and text all the time and visit when we can, but I miss the hell out of them. The irony, of course, is that now I have all kinds of time for them and they are the busy ones which is as it should be.
M&P, in case I haven't told you lately, you are the lights of my life.
P.S. There's still some room in my upcoming in-person Let's Get Messy freewriting group. For more information, check it out here.