This morning, I was thinking about something Mike used to do when he was very young. When he was around two, Mike and I would lay down on his bed at night and read a few stories together. Just before we would get to the end of a book, he would grab it and shut it and get another book in a panicky way. Mike did this because he didn't want story time to end and bedtime to start. No matter how much I tried to explain to him that I would finish one book AND still read more, he just didn't understand. So he always got stressed as we ran out of pages and he always missed out on the ending.
This memory popped into my head when I was trying to resolve some of my own feelings. We spent a couple of hours yesterday discussing and researching places to go this summer on a family vacation. It can sometimes be challenging to find an environment that will be fun for everyone when you have ages that span from 4 months to 19 years!
I'm having a hard time living in the moment to plan and then enjoy this special time together. I feel like I'm already grieving that it's over. It's just so silly really. I guess these times happen so infrequently I feel like there's so much pressure to get it right because our family dynamics are changing so quickly with the boys turning into men before our eyes! Having this special time together will be a gift to build memories...and, I know from experience, that no matter how much we plan nothing can ever be truly perfect. In reality, sometimes those imperfect times ending up being some of the best and funniest memories.
I guess my real problem is that I don't want anything to change. It looks like the kids would really like to go back to Hershey Park. Most of them don't even remember the first time we went 9 years ago. Mike was 10, Andrew 8, Jon 7, Sarah 4, Peter 2, and Ellie was only 4 months old! That was 2 months before Peter was diagnosed with Autism. What I mostly remember about that trip was that Michael got car sick 1 hour into the car drive and threw up all over himself, the flume ride Jay took the older kids on and had them yell "Polish power" at the top of the drop because they were all a little freaked out(that won't be a problem this time!), the free ride that showed how Hershey makes chocolate(the kids loved the free sample at the end), and the great chocolate milk shakes!
This is just one of those moments when I wish you could go back into the past and tell yourself to enjoy those everyday, chaotic moments of having young children. To tell yourself to spend a little more time snuggling and hugging and interacting with those little people. Sometimes those sleepless nights and seemingly endless diaper changes and toddler energy felt like they would never end. Even though these moments haven't ended for us yet, we did take a multiple year hiatus from it. I can honestly say that, at least most days, I am in no hurry for Luke's pudgy little body to turn into a long, lanky one or for Kate to lose her gummy, toothless grin. It's even given me patience through most nights of multiple waking because of Luke's lousy sleep patterns and almost 3 years of constant nursing. I know that even the tough days (and nights) won't last forever....I have 6 visual reminders of that every day!
I just need to keep working on being able to accept all these changes and find a sense of peace about it! Looks like it's time to read some self-help psychology books and spend more time in prayer!