Bitter Lessons of Unpreparedness.

    I could blame the new hormones for this, but I won't... the below article made me cry. Why you ask? Because this blogger hit something I'm very sensitive about... making the most and enjoying the time now. Not later... now.

    And I think back to this morning, with my favorite person, big or little. And I remember how tired and rushed I was. Waking late at the Spencer household does not go over well. And as always, my little one, so eager to make everyone around her happy tried singing and playing all the games I typically find endearing, only to be caught with my stern, rushed words. And I didn’t even take a second to notice if my words left her deflated.

    I know I sometimes get tunnel vision and in the hurried moments of trying to make sure the boss doesn’t get mad because I’m late, that the fish don’t die of starvation, that Addison doesn’t go to school looking homeless, that I don’t forget to mail the electricity bill or to put gas in the car and strand us or in simply trying to clear my head of the numerous to do lists… sometimes I miss the field for the corn. I miss the little ways in which she tries to help and sedate. I race around trying to turn off lights and find her back pack and sweater, only to find her waiting outside on the patio with all missing items in hand. I curse under my breath when I get her head to my nose while trying to buckle her in… only to be shown two days later, she was trying to figure it out herself “to help her favorite mommy”.

    I guess I should find solace in all parents trying each and every moment to keep their world’s spinning and I guess I shouldn’t tear up when I realize that we are all no different in missing moments and regretting words, but I don’t find solace. I do tear up. And I do often remind myself that I’ve got a million moments to make up for. But we don’t get more time for these make ups as the days roll on, do we?  

    Article from BlogHer.com: To The Young Mom in Aisle 7
    I passed the young mother several times in the grocery store as we both weaved our way up and down the aisles. She was dressed nicely -- she must have gotten off work, grabbed the kids from daycare and had to hit the store before heading home.

    She was tired -- I could tell by the way her face and shoulders drooped. As I maneuvered my basket around hers in the cereal aisle, I could hear her thoughts as she tossed flavored rice cakes into her cart: I'm eating this crap but still can't lose any weight, and no wonder when I don't have any time to exercise, working all day then grocery shopping and dealing with the kids.

    A son, probably four, but big for his age, rode sideways in the basket seat. A daughter -- cute little thing with her hair bobbed like her mom's -- I guessed to be around 6 or 7. She was all smiles. Neither of the kids were whiny or bratty, from what I could tell in our brief encounters, just bubbly and full of joy, viewing this trip to the store as an adventure with their mom. They were probably happy to be with her, finally. Time goes by so quickly for adults, but for kids, a day's separation seems like forever.

    I love how kids can turn everything into an adventure. I'm not sure I loved it all the time when my kids were little, though, and I don't think this mom appreciated it either. Kids seem to suck the energy right out of you. It's proportional -- they become happy and energetic while you become a crabby zombie. And your crabby-zombie-ness spreads until everyone around you is a crabby zombie.

    Sure enough, she was one register over when I was checking out, and by then the little girl was in tears. Maybe I'm being too harsh on the mother -- maybe the little girl, tired from school or daycare and nearing bedtime, became a brat and kept asking for something even after her mom said no a zillion times.

    At first I felt relief that it wasn't me having to deal with paying for my groceries and shooshing a tired child. But then I took another look at those kids, and in their place I saw mine so many years ago and thought of all the shopping trips we'd made together ... some not so fun, but some ... yes, some were lots of fun. And I know I didn't appreciate that time I had with my kids that age, so innocent, so bubbly, so energetic and full of joy.
    I wanted to tell the mom to hang on, to keep it in perspective and take it a day at a time. Heck, a minute at a time, if necessary. I wanted to tell her to soak up her kids' joy and sense of adventure instead of letting them zap her energy -- it's possible! -- because before she knows it, those two are going to be grown and she's going to be walking the aisles selecting things she thinks they'll like to eat because they're coming home to visit for a weekend.

    And she'll pass a tired mom with two little ones in tow and she'll think, if only I could go back in time. There are a few days I'd like to do over, a few days when instead of spreading my crabby zombie-ness, I'd like to try soaking up their joy and wonder at the world ... if only I had the chance to do some things a little differently ... if only ...

    Barbara Shallue writes about her life at http://barbarashallue.typepad.com, shares photos and information about photography at http://barbarashalluephotography.blogspot.com and is contributing editor of http://jobs4autism.com.

    1 comment:

    Katy said...

    It's not just the hormones. It made me well up a bit too. And I needed that today when Meanie has been, well, mean. And Koko is sicky and teething and I had to drag them both through Smith's just moments before nap time.
    And the thought, "I am not meant to be a mother..." sneaked in.


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