At certain points in my life I’ve wondered What could be better?
Falling in love, traveling, getting married, seeing my babies for the first time…
I know. That’s actually a good thing. The problem is that once this phase of life passes, as everything does, I’m left wondering again, What’s next? Will it be as wonderful or just ho-hum?
Do you ever feel like that?
Here’s an example..
Today I walked down to the corner to wait for my son to get off the bus. There’s just something magical about the weather in the northeast at the end of September. It’s so bright and the sky is vividly blue and the chill in the air is refreshing after a humid summer. At around 4 o’clock everything begins to look golden as the sun slowly makes its way down. Madeleine was in the stroller, barefoot and chatting to herself with her little doll on her lap and, of course, her LeapPad. (We don’t go very far without that LeapPad.) I stopped at the bridge overlooking the water so Madeleine could see the swans or whatever else was paddling around. Her teeny feet stuck out from the stroller, her toenails painted purple. The boats bobbed up and down. The water lapped gently and a few ducks floated by and quacked.
I sat there on the bridge with the warm sun on face feeling content. What could be better? My kids are little but big enough to do fun things with. We have our share of drama with sibling rivalry and bedtime wars, the endless flood of mind-numbing questions they have, which I don’t always have answers to…
Where is God? Why can’t I see him?
Do cats eat dogs?
Do “geeses” eat ducks?
Why does my friend have two mommies?
How do lakes fill with water?
How did the chicken cross the road?
Why does that lady have different color skin than me?
But we’re having a great time. Being a mom has brought so much more to my life than I ever could’ve imagined as a know-it-all 20-something. In fact, I didn’t even want children when we were first married.
My husband and I thought we were going to be the hoity-toity couple who doted on their nieces and nephews, who traveled to Europe often and drank expensive wine on a regular Monday evening.
Then our first nephew was born and I fell hard. I mean, this kid was beautiful. I can still remember the first time I saw him and the first time I held him. He was an angel from the very beginning.
I had to have one.
And a year later, I did. My very own perfect angel.
(Hang on…I’m reliving the whole experience. You’re not in a rush, are you?)
Things are always changing. Days string together, sometimes arduous and tiring, and I don’t notice anything different. Then suddenly my kids look older to me. Maybe their faces aren’t as chubby or their pants are looking a little short, or my daughter can brush her teeth without me reminding her to actually rinse the toothpaste out of her mouth. They’re growing and changing right before my open eyes. I feel selfish not to have noticed. What was I doing while they were growing so fast? Why didn’t I pay closer attention?
When I finally have a taste of freedom – when they’ll no longer need to me to cut their chicken into tiny pieces, tie their laces, or wash their hair – I wonder if I’ll feel this content. When Luke gets his first apartment and Madeleine meets “the one”, what will I feel then?
I fear not being needed. Does everyone?
For now I’m happy to sit on the bridge and wait until I see the first glimpse of the yellow school bus and catch my boy as he leaps down the stairs. He’ll be grouchy, as he always is after school, but that’s ok. He needs me to be there for him to give him a hug, surprise him with a snack and hold his hand as we walk back to our house.