I have had one of those mornings today……one of those days of remembrance of days past, moments you want to stop in time, and glimpses into the future.
Yesterday, Michael was sitting out on the back patio with the kids while they ate their dinner. I was inside still, in the kitchen cleaning stuff up, but keeping an ear on the coversation outside. It’s awful, but I love to eavesdrop on my kids. They have the most amazing conversations. It completely cracks me up. Last night, they were telling Michael about their morning at school, swimming at Nathan’s in the afternoon, and everything else that had gone on since he’d left for work that morning. They were very excited to remind Daddy that Mommy had picked them up before lunch. Too cute. Then, from out of nowhere, Gracie announces that she’s going to be an artist when she grows up. I stopped dead in my tracks. This, I had to hear. The look on her face was priceless, as if she’d just had an epiphany of her life’s purpose. It was eerie to me that a four year old would announce so assuredly what she was going to be when she grew up. I know when I was a kid, there were things that I thought I wanted to become as an adult, but never said it in the way Grace did yesterday. She is growing up. She loves to draw, paint, color, glue, etc….she could spend her entire day doing projects and such. Somehow, I can see myself twenty years from now, as she’s finished art school somewhere, remembering this day.
Ethan and I went to the Wild Animal Park this morning, part of my exercise plan…..This place is built on HILLS….and I mean hills. We were there for two hours, and it was blazing hot by the time we left. We even went back and saw the elephants a second time, at Ethan’s request. Well, to get to the elephants, you go down a big hill. Guess what you have to go back up to get out of the Park? A BIG HILL!!!!! AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! But I did it, and feel better for it. During the two hours, just watching him run around, watching him take it all in, watching him feed the ducks, watching him watch the animals and describe in his two year old words what he was seeing…..I wanted to freeze time. This baby is not a baby anymore. He is a full two years old…..defiant at times, discovering the world around him, but yet still so charmingly cuddly and toddler-ish. I forced myself to slow down, to enjoy this time I have with just him, at just this point in his life. I’m so used to schedules and having to rush all the time. I reminded myself to just sit, relax, and enjoy, and maybe see the world how Ethan does.
As we were getting ready to leave the Park, busloads of classes were coming in on field trips. There was my glimpse into the future…..I saw Moms and Dads helping out the teachers, leading groups of kids from one area to the next. I thought, this could be us in a year……this time next year, I could be on a field trip with Ryley’s kindergarten class. I can’t wait. But at the same time I was looking forward, I was remembering back…….back to the days in the hospital before Ryley was born, back to the days in the NICU, and back to our early days at home. I think we left the NICU completely unprepared….No one in our family knew what we were getting into. We didn’t know what to expect. While our NICU had been awesome while we were there, they gave us very little to go on for the months and years to come. In some ways, I am amazed we’ve made it this far. I distinctly recall that tiny, naked, red, wrinkled baby I first met three hours after he was born. Somehow, he does not equate with the boy – not even little boy anymore – I see in front of me, calling me Mom instead of Mommy, looking so much like his father and uncle it’s frightening, preparing to enter the world of elementary school…..
Remembrances, present moments, and glimpses of the future….How blessed I am to see them all in one day.