Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Me Time

There was a moment of deafening silence in my home the other day. When I looked around, I witnessed all of my kids watching a movie, in a little row, right on the couch. What’s so exciting about that you say? Well, it’s just so rare that I’m relieved of the worry of whatever possible haphazard they could be falling into, that I know they’re all accounted for and safe – it’s cause for celebration.

This tiny miracle of momentary peace left me thinking about how when they were smaller, I longed for them to be asleep simultaneously so that I could feel that same appreciated solace for an hour or two. Since I’ve had three kids, I’ve experienced that once during daytime hours, right after we moved into a new house and they all petered out from sheer exhaustion. (I had just enough time to wash the floor.)

Even when my oldest was two, I only had a brief period of six months or so that my girls cat napped together. Needless to say, I was glad to see them all kicking back on that couch; it gave me hope that there may be other pockets of relaxation in my future. And then it hit me – this hope for them to be together and peaceful never wanes, it just varies over time.

For example, right now I long for the last hour of my day, when the kids are snuggly tucked in or the snippets of time I have to get things done while the kids are otherwise occupied. But soon, I bet I’ll be hoping for something more fundamental, like all of my kids being home for dinner. With the activities and extra curricular events destined for our growing family’s future, I’ve no doubt those family meals will be a struggle to achieve. I pray that I’ll have many moments to look around and silently be grateful for having each of them at our table, telling us about their daily lives (yeah right) and sharing time together.

When I look further down the line, I imagine what it might be like when my kids have gone on to college and only come home from time to time. Although I’m sure that my husband and I will enjoy time alone again, I know that I’ll reminisce about busy days long since passed. More importantly, that feeling of having everyone home at once will be stronger than when all I wanted was an hour alone. I’ll be anxiously awaiting their arrival and the time we’ll spend together.

And then my kids will have families and make their own lives and dreams come true. Time will fly and their days will become as busy and tiring as mine are now. I dream about big barbeques, family holidays and plain old visits with a house full of whatever and whoever we all become, celebrating the family that we are. I’ll still be waiting for those three faces I love to be close together, but no longer will I wait for five minutes of peace. No, I suspect in the future I’ll be counting on my kids for an injection of the full house craziness of my past, which is currently my sometimes complained about present. I think what began as a wish for “me” time will evolve into a yen for some “be with me” time.

It’s true that the grass seems greener on the other side of the fence. I sometimes look at moms with older kids and feel a little envy for the time they have on their own. But I’m so grateful to have a little insight every once in awhile, to imagine what our future might be like. It helps me realize what I’m missing right now, by not living in the moment and uncovering all the goodness in front of me everyday. Even though silly things prod me to forget, finding that goodness – and treasuring it – is my primary goal. Here’s hoping you find some good of your own today!

1 comment:

mary said...

I dream those dreams too and wait for my grown children's faces to appear at the door. I'd give anything to hear their young voices be silly or serious or anything - just one more time and need me in a way they just don't anymore. The older you get the busier your children get - and the less you see them - it is how it should be. When they are little, a mother's time is packed full and when they're grown, a mother is so available for them. It is backwards and probably why grandparents enjoy their grandchildren so very much!

For sure, parents of grown children wish for “be with me” time (you got that right) but they know that there is more letting go to do. It is tough for me sometimes, maybe some find it easier - I don't know.

Oh, but when you are together and the timing is perfect and nothing is forced and laughs come easy and serious is respected - that moment of a family connected, is still the best. It may not happen often and it may not last for long but it is a golden moment - for the mother of grown children.

I try to remind myself to live in the moment too because I've noticed that each stage of life has its own "wonderful" and its own "not so wonderful" and if all you do is look back or into the future - you foolishly give up the moment you are in. You are right about finding that goodness – and treasuring it. In case you didn't know, dear daughter, one of the best moments of my day, is always, a call from you. We share time and I don't have to "let go" for that treasured moment.