Yesterday my almost 17 year old daughter texted me from school that she didn’t feel well. I picked her up & brought her home. She laid in my lap for a bit then we both took a nap in my room. At 1:00pm on a Monday I took a nap in my big king bed with my big 16 year old, crazy smart, independent, gets straight A’s, never cries, unemotional daughter. I didn’t sleep. I mostly just started at her.
I remember being 18 & my heart was broken and I thought “Just get me to adulthood and a grown up life and none of this bullshit will hurt anymore”. I remember being 30 years old and having two babies, 1 and 3 and being an anxious ball of nerves. I remember they wouldn’t sleep. EVER. Or eat anything. I was exhausted and grumpy and anxious and barely left the house for fear of an all out wild tantrum in Target. And all I could think at the time was “God I cannot WAIT until they are older”. “I cannot wait until they sleep and don’t cry and don’t scream at each other and don’t follow me into the bathroom all the time.” “When they get older” things will be better. I’ll have a life again. Let me just get them grown. Let me just get older.
During Christmas time I always remember thinking “Holy crap just get me through these Holidays. I hate the holidays. Stressful. Just let it end.” When the kids were in elementary school I thought “Good grief just get them out of elementary school so there’s less class parties and field trips and crap.” Just get me past elementary school. Running 30 places in one week for soccer, cheer, school, DECA, friends’ houses had me wishing the time away so Maddie could drive and my taxi days would end.
As I laid next to Maddie yesterday I realized it took me 44 years to realize a LOT of things. Maybe its the magic age for me. Who knows. I guess Im a slow study. But it took me 44 years to learn Im not heading SOMEWHERE. There’s not a DESTINATION. Theres no rush to get to a dot on a map or a finish line or a goal. Its truly TRULY not about the destination. Its about the moments. And there’s some regret for not appreciating the little moments. The tantrums, days without a shower, screaming babies, running around like a taxi. I didn’t appreciate all of that. Not as much as I should’ve. I have always ALWAYS believed if I could “Just get past”, “Just get through”, “Just move further down the timeline”….that some magical room appeared where I’d have no stress, no anxiety, no worry, and be happy to have reached this finish line.
Only there isn’t a finish line to celebrate. Until I die. While I was running this race there were views. There were late night secret concerts. There was a walk in Vegas one night. There was a lunch with an old friend. There was a quarterback. There was a song in a car and a girl who died too young & that song still reminds me of her. Glad we had that song. There was a boy on some bleachers & an old man telling us not to fight. There was loss and joy and a moment on a back road near Aspen. There was a night in a lawn chair with my Dad. There was fishing in a boat with my Grandad. There was an ARD meeting at school where I learned to love my son for all that he is and isn’t. And quit fighting what I thought he SHOULD be. There was a drink in a brewery. There was the night before Maddie was born that I rocked in a chair all night. The last night before I became a Mom. And life changed. There was a dance to “Once in A Blue Moon”. There was a moment in an elevator. There was a conversation on a bus to a football game. There was a beer in a cemetery. There was a breakdown on a mountain I thought I couldn’t climb. And a man who helped me do it anyway. There was a conversation on my front steps at 2am when I was 18. There were elephants and dancing and music and concerts and funerals and weddings and kids’ plays at school and my Nanny’s cookies and sitting in church staring at a cute boy and sidewalks and a red car and a race and ice cream and yogurt and sitting on the hood of a car drinking Yoohoo and dreaming. And a million other beautiful, amazing, joyful moments I wish I’d savored……just a little bit more.
All the moments. All the little moments. And THAT is what its about. Life. And staring into her beautiful face yesterday in my bed, laying next to me, I realized that. There’s nowhere to GET TO. Im already there. In every single little moment. Now I know to stop and soak it all in. All of it.
It’s pretty cool being 44. Every little thing is pretty cool if you just look at it long enough. Soak it all in. Every. Little. Moment.