For years when our kids were little people would see us at church or around town loading, unloading, looking for shoes, picking up dropped keys, dropped bottles, dropped toys, whatever, and they would say: “I remember those days. They were the happiest times of my life! They grow up too fast! You’ll miss it, trust me”.
And I would think: The happiest times of your life? Wow. You must have a horrible life! Surely you have forgotten what it’s like. What about jam?
I am convinced for a period of at least ten years my children didn’t actually consume sticky foods—they just spread them on other surfaces. I can’t count times I touched something sticky: counter tops, doorknobs, drawer handles; JAM EVERYWHERE. And besides jam, how about trying to leave the house! We carried around a diaper bag for thirteen years. Thirteen YEARS. Every time went anywhere it was like packing for a weekend getaway. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but hearing: “This is the best time of you life” was a little discouraging . . . So no money, no time, no nice things (see jam rant) is as good as it gets. Again, I say: Wow. After the diaper, earache, consta-snot, sticky years, it’s all down hill. Well, at least we have something to look forward to, like death.
Now years later, three of my five are married and out of the nest and the remaining two can find their own shoes (for the most part). I can see why those well intended soon to be or already emptynesters would say what they did. I miss ‘em. Look, I’ll be the first to admit being able to shop with my wife for an hour without finding, picking up, and trusting a pre-teen baby sitter is awesome! Still I miss them. Now I can talk to my kids about art, music, sports, politics and whatever. I love that! Added bonus: NO JAM. But I miss the cute things they would say. I miss the jammies and even Dragon Tales (not often). This morning as I was waking up, I longed for a bed head, bad breath kiddo to crawl in my bed and put her cold feet on my back. That ship has sailed. And the sad thing is, it never comes back. Memories are filtered to remember the good times. I don’t want to go back to stepping on Barbie shoes and pink medicine constantly in the fridge. Not permanently at least, but I would like to go back for a visit.