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.
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.