One of my husband’s college roommates came to breakfast at our house today. Because Scott lives clear across the country near Philadelphia, this was only the second time he’s had the immense privilege of hanging out with our boys. The last time he saw them, they were roughly 4 and 6, and a bit more difficult to manage than they are now. Today, while we enjoyed steak and eggs and a few hours of conversation with Scott, our boys played quietly either upstairs or in the basement. They interrupted us only once to ask us to look at the whale that had appeared on Wii Sports Resort while Joe was jetskiing.
A couple times during his visit, Scott commented that our boys were so well-behaved. I had to laugh. While I know our boys are pretty good kids, I never truly think of them as being well-behaved. I suppose that’s because most of the time I’m with them they’re driving me insane with non-stop chatter, fart noises, and references to “gunships,” “hot lava,” and “Sector 4.” But, today, they were quite accommodating while we were with our friend. They didn’t stay in the room eavesdropping or run in and out being noisy or even bother us for snacks or drinks. They were inconspicuous and borderline polite. It was pleasant.
Lately I’ve been doing a bit of walking down memory lane, reviewing old videotapes I recently found of our boys when they were roughly 4 and 2. The videos tug at my heart. The boys were so cute with their speech impediments, their mischievous grins, and their funny dancing. I watch those videos and feel a bit sad that I didn’t enjoy that time in their lives more. When they were at that age, though, I was exhausted. I was simply too tired to be zen about the whole thing and live in the moment. And, every time a woman stopped me and told me to appreciate this time with my little boys, I wanted to scream, “I’m too tired to appreciate them. I’ll appreciate them later when they’re bigger and I have the energy.”
So, now that they are bigger, I am trying very hard to live with them in the present and pay attention to this time in their lives. After Scott left today, my well-behaved boys and I spent a perfect rainy day afternoon watching Iron Man and Iron Man 2 together, curled up on the couch discussing how much Luke wanted to be Tony Stark. Having the time and energy now to appreciate them has helped me understand that it’s okay that I wasn’t better about relishing the present with them when they were smaller and such a handful. I was doing the best I could at that time. And, I did enjoy them. If I hadn’t found them darling and interesting, if I hadn’t treasured the place they were at, if I hadn’t understood how ephemeral it all was, I wouldn’t have recorded hours upon hours of video of them dancing, celebrating birthdays, taking baths, and playing with Thomas the Tank Engine.
I’ve cherished every phase with my boys. I’m sure in the end I will think they all went by far too quickly. But, for now, I’m not focusing on that. I’m busy being here with my guys. They’re amazing. And me? Well, I’m doing the best I can, and that’s good too.