Tuesday, October 19, 2010

:: Just Enjoy Them ::

"What is she, about...three?" asked the softspoken voice behind me.

I was standing in line at a local coffee shop (The Spotted Cow), grabbing a quick cup of coffee, breakfast wrap, and some Annie's grahams for Gia.

I turned and looked at the man behind me.  He was at least in his 70's, white hair, and kind eyes.  I followed his gaze to my daughter, Delia, who was grinning back at him, her blue eyes shining.  This girl can spot a grandpa a mile away.

"Yes, three in December." I responded with a quick smile.

He looked back at me, with a knowing nod.  "I have a grand-daughter that age.  They came to our house for dinner on Sunday.  Such a joy."

I agreed.

"Now", he said, "I'm going to tell you something."  I couldn't help but stare at Gia as he went on, "Being a parent can be tough...real tough.  Especially a parent of two (he noticed Liam in the stroller)."  I held up 3 fingers.  He smiled and continued, "Three?!  Well, there are times when you feel frustrated and worn out.  But my son is 39..." I looked back at him and noticed moisture in his eyes, "...It goes by so fast.  The years fly and you'll want these days back.  Try not to live your days in frustration and worry.  Just enjoy them."  He took his glasses off and wiped his eyes.

These past few days and weeks with Aidan have been tough.  We are trying to navigate these preschool years as he gets older and...well, smarter.  Ryan and I literally threw our hands up in the air last night with frustration.  We feel like most of our time lately is chastising, dealing time-outs, and trying not to let our frustration get the best of us with Aidan.  I know the poor boy is just needing extra attention and I wish we could give him more one on one time.  We need a plan.  So, you can imagine what those words from a kind stranger meant to me today.

I looked at the man for a few seconds, trying to find words.  I finally said, "Sir, it's been a tough go lately and I completely believe you were sent here to tell me this today.  I am a fried parent and, well, I really needed to hear that."  I expected him to laugh, because I find that people find frazzled parents kind of amusing, but he looked at me with a serious look and said, "Good."

I bid him a good morning as we went to the back of the coffee shop so Gia could play while I sipped my coffee before heading out on the walking trail.

I was deep in thought when I heard some knocking on the window.  I turned to see the kind old man with his wife, peering through the window at Gia.  He was pointing her out to his wife and they were both waving to her.  Gia lifted her head up from the book she was looking at to smile and wave.  Right before they went on their way, the man shot me a glance as if to say, "Hang in there, momma."

My steps were a little slower and a lot lighter down that walking path.  We took extra time to see the ducks and enjoy the sunshine.  I'm trying to remember to slow down and...live.  I had extra hugs for Aidan today when I picked him up at preschool.  I even smiled when the teacher told me Aidan had an incident involving a book and another student's head.  We had words, Aidan and I - believe that.  And he has a consequence coming (new word for him).  But deep inside, I was grateful.  There will be a day when I wish my biggest worry about Aidan was how he behaved in preschool.

We'll make it.  I'm not worried about that.  Parenting is the hardest job in the world.  So much to teach and so much...responsibility.  It's a solemn job.  We're getting a plan together for Aidan, involving some special "big boy" stuff.  I'm taking it day by day.  He is so easy to love and just needs some steering in the right direction.  Meanwhile...

I just plan on enjoying him.