When I was a young mother women liked to offer me advice. It often came while I was in the grocery store and one of my children was crying, screaming or I was chasing one kid down the hair care isle while my grocery cart and other children were in produce. Their advice was always the same, three words, "Enjoy this time."
I wondered which part I was supposed to enjoy? The realization that I could not prevent or control my children from having tantrums? The feeling of sweat running down my face as I sprinted through a grocery store in search of a toddler who thought hiding was fun? Or perhaps the guilt I felt that I was not enjoying this time?
In those moments as I was fielding their advice I felt aggravated and frustrated by the suggestion to,”Enjoy this time.” Obviously these women didn’t know how difficult it was to raise kids. All of these years later, I finally see that this advice came not from clueless individuals but from women who were watching my present and seeing their past. They were remembering their own crazy out of control moments and wanted them back.
“Enjoy this time,” came from a mom watching my little boy drive the car attached to my grocery cart after she spent the morning at the DMV where she cheered out loud, and cried inside, for her son who passed his driving test. “Enjoy this time,” came from a mom who smiled softly as she admired my daughter who was dressed in a princess gown and red boots, hours earlier this mom helped her own daughter choose a prom gown and heels. And,”Enjoy this time,” came from a mother with tears in her eyes as she stared at my 4 year old who proudly wore his "cap and gown" downtown after preschool graduation. She just drove by the town green where a white tent and hundreds of chairs sat waiting for that nights' high school graduation, her child would be amongst the graduates.
I finally get it and somewhere along the line I did figure out how to enjoy this time. The days of hearing “ Are we there yet?” from the backseat may be behind me but as I drive my son to college this fall, from the front seat I may just turn around and ask him,"Are we there already?"