Friday, September 2, 2011

Proof that life was not always a day in the park

As we get older apparently the good times get better with time, and the bad times sort of fade away? Sort of like that story I heard many years ago about the woman at the funeral of her husband. As her 8 grown sons (or however many she had, I remember the number was high) were carrying their Dad's casket out of the church, this woman remarked,  "I enjoyed every minute raising my boys. It was pure joy."

I had 4 little sons at the time and while I truly did feel I was living my dream, every minute was not joyful. Not even every day. I probably had many bad weeks, too. But then I thought to myself, "Oh I get it....she's forgotten! She's forgotten all the day to day hard stuff."

I ran into this picture a few nights ago:

I don't know who took this picture of me. Or why. 
The 3 cans I'm pulling out of the pantry is not what is telling to me. 
It's the sign on the side of that cabinet. See it there? I had forgotten all about that quote. 
I had it hanging there for years. It read:
"Oh so this isn't home sweet home? Adjust!"

Why would a nice mother have a sign like that up? I would never even think of putting that up now!
Or how about the one I use to have hanging on my porch. Seriously, my porch!

Apparently I must have felt like that at the time. 
So much so that I wanted people to see it as soon as they arrived??

I hope my children were not offended. Or if they were, I hope they have forgiven me.
Knowing them, they probably didn't even notice. 
Really, if it weren't for the signs, I would hardly remember those feelings.
They've faded away with the years. 

And there's something else I've figured out about being an empty nester Grandma.
At this age, and with little people needs continually not in front of my face, 
I have time to THINK.
I didn't have time to think before.
But now, after the grandkids have been for a visit, Den and I can talk about them.
And we smile and laugh all over again each time.
We have time to bask in the sweetness of these little children who we adore.
When we were young parents we just had to get on to the next thing. 
The next bedtime, the next mealtime, the next mess to clean up, the next crisis.

I used to get a little annoyed when Grandmas would see me in the grocery store with all my sons in tow
and they would say to me,
"Enjoy every minute because these are the best days of your life."
Then why did I always look forward to the years ahead when they would sleep through the night,
be out of diapers, be in school all day?
Because I was TIRED.

Turns out those Grandmas in the grocery store had it right.
I might have been sleepy back then, 
but my children were all mine and I got to be with them and see them every single day.


Anonymous said...

Best Post ever. This post shows your humanity, grace and wisdom. It is also funny (the signs) I have half of my kids gone and half still home. I am starting to see the big picture now.. Have a great weekend Jill. Jay

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister!

Sue said...

Ain't that the truth? Those were the days, my friend.

(But these are pretty great days too, aren't they?)


grandmapeg said...

I couldn't have said it any better! Being around my grandchildren so much, I am reminded of how I felt back when my own children were that age, but I am learning to appreciate the little ones more now, even when I am tired.

cristie said...

i love this post and i hear you loud and clear! xox

Darlene said...

Loved the picture of you pulling cans out of the cabinet. Thought your signs were pretty funny.

It's been so long since I had little ones that I don't remember ever having had a hard time with them. They must have all been perfect angels. Ha! (Of course I refuse to mention that there are many many many things I don't remember)

Connie said...

It's funny how when I think back on raising my 8 kids, I remember the days with fondness. However, I know there were horrible days! Maybe I'm just too old to remember!

Great thoughts. Love your picture.

Logan and Amy said...

This was the perfect post! Well said!! I have to say that when I read the sign about being pecked to death by a duck, I couldn't stop laughing. In fact, I am laughing about it while typing this to you. Too funny!

Mary said...

Age does seem to make a difference. I had to wait so long to have my children (age 35) that I was able to appreciate them much more than I would have 15 years earlier. Even though I had less energy than a younger mom, I really did love every moment with my kids, even in the most frustrating times. Still do, even with a 14-year-old son at my old age of 57!

Rebecca said...

I am still in the being pecked stage of life. Can not wait for THAT to be over!

nrozier said...

Don't feel too bad, I remember those snarky saying plaques being really popular in the 80's. We had a Ziggy one that said "I don't remember what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I'm sure it wasn't this." It still makes me laugh.

Grandma Honey said...

You're making me feel better Natalie. This has been bothering me the past few days. I think I must have really mellowed over the years because I just would not want sayings like that in my home. But I hadn't thought about it being an 80s thing.

Mary~ I hear what you are saying. I know I appreciated it all too. Daily I remember feeling so thankful for my children and my life with them. I would often wake up at 4am just because I was so excited to see them again that I couldn't sleep. But I think with the passage of time I had forgotten some of the grueling parts... but really, wasn't it the challenge of it all what made it all so special and meaningful? We don't learn and grow and progress from ease to ease.

kelly said...

Great post. Whenever I feel like I'm being pecked to death I try really hard to enjoy all the little things. Sometimes I think about how close Micah is to jr high and then HS and it makes me feel so sad and helps me hang on to these quickly fleeting times I have with my little ones.

Anonymous said...

I remember that sign!! The pecking one on the porch, hahahaha