Monday, April 2, 2012
My two oldest children sprinted forward along the breathtaking sandstone cliffs of La Jolla, my husband walking briskly behind them. But me? I trailed far behind at a painfully slow pace, dragging my reluctant two-year-old by the hand. “Come on, Christian!” I growled. “Hurry, hurry!”
Why did I get stuck in the back? I grumbled. I always end up with the caboose.
But as I matched my steps with his painfully slow baby totters, I started to notice things. The salty breeze. The cries of the gulls. The crash of the waves against the coast. The tiny flowers nestled in cactus leaves.
Before I had kids, I lived life at full throttle. Always pushing, always achieving. Straight As? Check. College done in 3 years? Check. Engaged at 20, married by 21, homeowner by 23. Surging forward to what was next.
During that time I asked my grandmother – now happily married for over 67 years (and counting!) – when she stopped living in the future. “When I had my second child,” she replied.
It is now, happily weighed down with four young children, that I know why. Little hands, pulling us back, anchor us to the present and remind us to savor the now. Because what my stumbling two year old knew that I did not, was that moment, walking on the beach at La Jolla, his little fingers clasped in mine, will never come again. And I almost missed it.