Mirror Image

As I was pulling out of the driveway this morning on my way to the store, I saw my neighbors outside with their youngest child, a little boy who is three. They are my neighbors with the three children who like to spend time with me. I have written about the girls many times. The parents had been exercising, and the father, who has been on vacation this week and has had more time to spend with his family, started jogging. I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw the three-year-old take off after his dad, his tiny legs pumping as fast as they could go, trying to keep up. I started to laugh. And then I almost cried. That was our little family not so long ago.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

I know we appreciated our children when they were growing up. We cherished them, loved them to pieces, but we were also caught up in the daily struggles all families are caught up in. The pace of family life can be frenetic sometimes. The years slip away from you, and before you know it, you’re…me. Now the pace of my life is more controlled. It is a sweet time of life in many ways. I don’t have the responsibility anymore of raising children. But I don’t have the joy, either.

When George and I are at the beach or at the movies, we notice families with young children, and sometimes we look at each other and smile and say, “That was us.” But it is a wistful smile. Both of us miss being parents to young children. Teenagers, not so much.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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28 Responses to Mirror Image

  1. Huffygirl says:

    I guess that’s why we enjoy grandchildren so much – they allow us to remember and enjoy the best of times.

  2. Jiawei says:

    A good reminder for us not to be” caught up in the daily struggles” of life. Cute family picture!

  3. Amy says:

    I love this photo, beautiful and happy family! Teenagers, not so much — I feel the same 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      I know many people loved the teen-ager time of parenting, and there were many wonderful times we had with our three when they were that age. But I also remember the stressful times. It seemed easier when they were little.

  4. Nice post! I don’t miss the young ages– and with the 4 grandkids I’m quite busy and able to get my baby/toddler fix. What makes me wistful is seeing families with teenagers- – yes, teenagers. I miss the hustle and bustle of the comings and goings, the hectic schedules, the rushed dinners, the constant eating (by the boys), and how friends would just appear and raid the fridge. That time seemed to fly so fast.

    • Coming East says:

      Once they reached those teenage years, the time flew even faster and they were out of the house so quickly. My three all left home the same summer. Talk about empty nest!

  5. pattisj says:

    Those teen years can have rough patches at times. It seems everyone survived. 🙂

  6. smile breathe and go slowly says:

    I try and remind myself of this often. My kids are 17,12 and 9 and some days I wonder why on earth I had kids!! Most days I truly love and cherish my moments with them. They are my driving force and the reason I choose the things I do….I know when they are gone and raising their own families, I will fluctuate between enjoying my freedom and crying that I miiisssss themmmmm!! Doing my best to be here now 🙂 Great post!

    • Coming East says:

      Those are such good ages, and a good spread between them so they won’t ll leave home at once. I can tell by your comment how much you love being their mother.

  7. Shofar says:

    My husband always likes to say, “If I knew grandchildren would be so great, I would have had them first!”
    -Liz

    • Coming East says:

      I love my granddaughters, but they are so far away. I’ve missed so much of their lives already.

      • Shofar says:

        I sympathize with you. It is so quiet here when our grands are not here and busy with their own summer activities, but we see remnants of their being here: their balls, toys and games, stuffed animals, arts and crafts stuff everywhere, all kinds of misc. incl. snacks and food we buy for them. Soon school starts and we pick them up from school some days. Sorry for making you feel bad, Susan! Blessings, Liz

      • Coming East says:

        Haha, Liz. I’m never sad when I’m happy for other people. I’m glad yours live so close. It’s the way it used to be.

  8. You hit the nail on the head!
    I REALLY loved the teen years, though! My house was the place all the kids’ friends hung out at. My middle boy was a star football player so you can imagine the activity/social level. So much fun, so much laughter!.
    Thank you once again for a great post!

    • Coming East says:

      You are like my daughter is, Karen. All the kids love hanging out there. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my teenagers, too, but those years were pretty stressful, especially with three kids.

  9. Dianna says:

    It is bittersweet to see families with young children, isn’ it? When I see a mother being so good with her children (patient, etc.), I hope that I was like that with my Marshall. When I see a harried mother, snapping at her child, I remember that, regretfully, I did that some, too. What is it about motherhood that brings about so much guilt????

  10. You too, huh? Hubby and I do the same thing when we see young families. Wistful memories float back in and we sigh and think of days gone by. Oh, there were plenty of hard times too, but the good times are golden.

  11. Al says:

    “Selective memory” is one of God’s gifts. We tend to dwell on the great memories and even when we recall the tough times, we’re able to laugh at them now. Love the picture.

  12. winsomebella says:

    Susan, I feel that same wistfulness about that time in life—-and yes, I know relief for having “been there-done that” with the teenager thing :-).

    • Coming East says:

      There were many precious moments with my teenagers, Stacia, but I don’t miss the stress of those years. But when they were little…oh, my, how we enjoyed being parents.

  13. I can’t tell you how often the sight of a young mom with two little boys (or even one) brings tears to my eyes. “The days are long but the years are short.”

    • Coming East says:

      Those were such good years, weren’t they Margo? And yet, while we were going through them, we had many hard days, too. Our memories seem to hang onto the joys more, I think.

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