After the post I wrote about feeling lost when my boys went back to school, my dear friend, Andrea, wrote me an e-mail that changed how I think about life. She wrote that her youngest left for college this fall and even though I’m having a tough time with my kids back in school, she wants me to know: I am still in the sweet spot. She said how she doesn’t have any to-do lists on the fridge, no crazy soccer schedules to work around, no parent meetings or sleepovers or dioramas to help with. And she missed her to-do lists.
I think about her e-mail all the time as I get yanked around by fall’s crazy schedule, with its hours of silence at home followed by its hours of madness, of high-fiving my husband on the way out the door, of standing in the pouring rain eating soggy sandwiches for dinner. Again. I remember that this is the sweet spot.
When the boys come home and plaster the quiet, clean house with papers to sign, art projects to exclaim over, dirty lunchboxes to clean, and party invitations to not lose, I remember–this is the sweet spot.
When I have to wake everyone up to take them to speech appointments and choir practice, dentist and orthodontist appointments, when I have to pack them breakfast for the car, I remember—this is the sweet spot.
When I am so spent it takes a real effort to muster up enough energy to say “goodnight” to my husband before falling into bed, I remember—this is the sweet spot.
Because the thing is, those soccer games, the birthday parties, the parent meetings and doctor’s appointments—they’re not the things getting in the way of life. They are life.
I stand with the moms on the soccer sidelines and joke about throwing together a halftime show—how much could we embarrass our kids today? The boys and I show up at speech therapy ten minutes early and Leo snuggles next to me and asks me to read him a book. The receptionist asks me how my books are coming along; I ask to see pictures of her newest grandson. We pick up a carload of kids to take to practice and they laugh and tease each other and I learn more about my kid’s life from that car ride than I did from asking how his day was all week.
I had been aching for those simpler, sweet times when we’d have friends over for dinner or put the baby stroller and walk along the lake on a Saturday afternoon. For those times we had the luxury to ask, “What do we want to do today?” But now I realize that some day I will ache for this time of life—the one that’s happening right now. This crazy, missed-appointment, show-up-late, triple-booked time of life when friends and family are built into our days because our schedules all crisscross and overlap in the most beautiful, complicated, messy way.
The soccer games that get in the way of dinner, the homework that gets in the way of soccer, the times in between, all of these little moments? They’re not little at all. They’re huge.
And I am glad to be here for each and every one of them.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
I blogged instead of cooking today. I guess we’ll just have to eat this blog post for dinner.
*Also, if you are wondering Andrae, I keep seeing pictures of a fabulous Vegas vacation she and her husband are on, so I don’t think we have to worry about her too much.