I know we've been over this and over this and over this, but it comes up fresh for me every time it happens and I feel the need to go over it yet again: I was in the store the other day with the kids, and a woman in line ahead of me told me that these were the best years of parenting and I should enjoy them.
When elderly ladies say that to me, I find it easier to let it roll off---though I did once get into a total fret when I was postpartum and TWO old ladies said it to me on one single outing, and I went home almost FRANTIC to Paul, grabbing his shirt and saying, "DO you think these are the best times?? DO you?? Because I am JUST BARELY HOLDING IT TOGETHER" and he thought it over and said, "I think these are the best times to remember," which I think he's exactly right about and now I translate it that way whenever an elderly lady seems to be telling me that it's all downhill from here.
Where was I? Oh, yes. The woman in the store. She wasn't old. She said she had teenagers, and I'd guess she was maybe ten years older than me. I've been in a funk over it for several days now, thinking it's not bad enough, apparently, to be overwhelmed and counting hours and feeling like I'm trapped: I can also now look forward to a future of beating myself up for not enjoying it more.
Part of it was the timing: the children were so demanding and giddy and intolerable on that particular errand, I'd gone over to the luggage section and looked dreamily at the suitcases, fantasizing about buying a nice big set, big enough to last me SEVERAL WEEKS. I'd also fantasized about running the shopping cart "accidentally" into the butt of one or both of my older children to see if THAT would be as funny as BREATHING and WALKING seemed to be. So it was not a receptive moment for hearing that these were the glorious days I would one day long for.
Part of it was her age: as I said, I can handle this kind of thing more easily from someone very elderly. But someone who's only ten years older than me? Surely she can still remember being my age and having children the ages of mine. Surely she can remember all the old ladies telling her to cherish every moment, and surely she can remember how she felt about that. So if SHE is telling me these are the best years, when she has the same information ringing still in her own ears---well, either it's TRUE and it really is a steady downhill roll into the Swamps of Suckitude followed by death, or else I should have shoved her "accidentally" in the butt with my shopping cart.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...