Last weekend we went for a walk down to the lighthouse at the end of the peninsula we live on. It was between Hayes’s noon and three nap. That day Mike and I had been at each other’s throats about work/life/balance. It was just one of those days that things weren’t working. We all have them, but that Sunday was our’s that week. I saw a young couple get out of their car next to us. They were far more put together than we were for a Sunday. Me in my sweats and Mike in his. They were in cute outfits that melded into the fall landscape. She was wearing makeup and I hadn’t taken a shower in a few days. I stood there strapping on the carrier and Mike holding Hayes and trying to keep him from wiggling out of his arms. He asked if I wanted to face Hayes in or out and I said out. I like him seeing things when we hike and so does he it seems. I watched the couple who seemed so carefree prance along ahead of us toward the beach access holding hands and smiling. We went for our walk and it was a quick one since Hayes had to be back for lunch and a nap. We spent the short time talking through getting back on a good schedule together so we could work better together. By the time we made the turn we were starting to see where things got off balance. As we headed back I noticed the couple down the beach again snapping photos, living in the moment of the beautiful fall day, and enjoying life. They were so happy and seemed to be without a care in the world. Watching them made me smile.
Walking back to the car and riding home, I kept thinking about the couple not because I recognized them, but because I realized I saw us in them. They represented a time in our life that still lingers in my soul even 8 months into parenthood. The carefree days we used to spend together on the water just the same way. There was no schedule just the chance to drive, enjoy the journey, and then ask where we should go for dinner that night. We enjoyed those times. They were so special and seem even more so now.
In that moment as I thought of them while Hayes played with his toy next to me in the backseat and Mike listened to NPR, I felt some discontent with the time I was at in life. I didn’t necessarily desire to have something different, just desired to go back. It was a weird feeling. So, I daydreamed about being back there to those days in my life, but then I realized something. I thought of that girl on the beach, who at one point was me. I remember the giggling and laughing and snapping photos. That version of me though longed for what was right there with me in the car in this present moment. She longed for a husband she loved and loved her, she longed for living a creative life she loved, and she longed to be a mother one day so badly. In that moment I snapped back and realized that my old self longed for my now self in the equal way I was longing for my old self. It was the first time that that clicked for me and in that moment I instantly felt thankful for here and now. It left me so happy to be just here in that moment, baby babbling and screeching, NPR humming, in a truck, sitting in the back seat, wearing yoga pants, and being unshowered. There was beauty in it. The life and fullness of the days was more than I could ask for even in the way it has limited other parts of life, there is no replacing the beauty of the days with Hayes, running a business we love, and doing it together. Every crack is full. There is little room for more and those care-free moments have to be a little more planned, but there is nothing more wonderful than these moments we are in now. One day, my older self will long for these days that feel too full. I will long for Hayes to ruin my plans for the day because he didn’t want a nap. I will long for the early bed times where Mike and I squeeze each other’s hand to say I love you, but I need sleep. I will long for the morning giggles and cuddles before sunrise and before coffee. No moment in life is worth wishing away no matter how trying, no matter how painful, no matter how unplanned, because at some point those moments will be longed for.
As a new mom, I think we are too close to what life was like before, we are tired, we have gone through the hardest changes, and it all leaves us remembering what life was before making us miss what lies right in front of us sometimes. We forget that we waited, anticipated, wondered, and longed for the wilderness that is motherhood.
That moment last weekend was the kind of reminder I needed to find thanks and gratitude for the now I am in.
As we drove back to our house, parked in front of the house, and we pulled Hayes out of the car seat, he reached for me and giggled and my heart nearly burst. That version of me that was on that beach years ago at 24 years old was great and so fun, but she didn’t know how full her heart could be and how much love and comfort can come from becoming a mother. She didn’t know that her heart could nearly burst each day with love. She didn’t know how complete life would feel. There is no doubt that it is always easier to look back or dream of the future and miss the chance to enjoy now. Make a point this week to enjoy now. Connect with what is filling you now. What is making you happy? What is it that is making you feel alive in this chapter in your life?
Happy Monday friends!