You know that scene in the Steve Martin movie, “Father of the Bride”, where he is listening to his grown daughter announce she is in love and he looks at her and sees his little seven-year-old announcing her engagement? Well, it’s not as bad as all that but almost.
“You can’t be ten, I won’t allow it. You must stay an infant in my memory.” For some reason when I think of my daughters I remember them most vividly when they were 6 months, 4 years old, and 6 years old. We’d drop off my oldest at school and then to preschool for my middle daughter, and then back home for morning nap for the baby. I remember carrying the baby in carrier while I volunteered in my daughter’s classroom and pushing a double stroller up the hills of the LA Zoo. We’d have little picnics on the front lawn in our best dresses and hats and stroll down the cul-de-sac to visit the neighbor’s pot-bellied pig, Sukie. Ah, those were the days…
Or were there? It’s funny how I think so fondly of that time and yet I know that it was also one of the most difficult times of my life, as well. I would enjoy the moments but by the end of the day I would wait so anxiously for my husband to enter the house after his day at work and quicker than he could put down his bag and say “hello” I was out the door for a break. I didn’t even have any urgent place I had to be but just the thought of strolling around Target by myself or checking out produce at Vons without 3 kids in tow sounded like a dream. I needed that daily break. My days were physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. I enjoyed the privilege of being home to raise my kids but it was not an easy job.
As I look at my hardest days with my two teens and one preteen, I know that also one day I will look back and think fondly of this time when my house is empty of children. Even the most challenging times will fade in comparison to the fond memories. It’s going too quickly…someone stop the clock.
“You can’t be ten. I won’t allow it.”