A couple of nights ago, Annie, David, and I were at one of our favorite local establishments. It is a great place to take a toddler because she can run around when she gets tired of sitting at one of the picnic-style tables, without anyone really caring or looking at us like we are negligent parents. At one particular point in the evening, David was outside with Annie, entertaining her, and I was alone at our table, left with my thoughts and my observations of those around us. At a nearby table, there was a group of four young adults - early to mid-twenties, I'm guessing. I watched them for a moment, as they talked about something other than daycare and how to get a kid to eat vegetables. Although I couldn't really hear what they were saying, I imagined they were talking about politics and religion and the controversial issues of the day. They may have been talking about what some girl they didn't care for was wearing at a party, but in my head they were concerned about their world and working to solve its problems.
And I found myself mentally telling them, "Enjoy these days. It won't be this way forever." Before too long, at least a couple of them are likely to get married, and probably one of those, if not more, will have children. Life won't always be about having the time to sit at a table, drink a beer, and just talk about thoughts and dreams and ideas. Someday they will have someone else to be responsible to - and maybe even someone else to be responsible for.
As I sat there, watching them, I very distinctly remembered being one of them. Sitting at a table with my friends, talking about life as I knew it then. And you know what I remember most? I remember how I used to sit at that table, eyeing the young couple with the cute little two-year-old daughter, wishing that was me. I remember longing to find the one person I was supposed to walk through the rest of my life with - and wondering how that would ever happen. I remember hoping for a child, wanting to be someone's mom. And in my late twenties, especially, I remember sitting in restaurants and bars with friends and wondering when my life was going to change - change into that young family, running after their toddler.
And as I sat there and thought about those young people, I realized, in a couple years time, give or take, I will look back at the days I'm living right now - I will see someone mirroring the walk David and I take each day - and I will hope they are cherishing it for what it is. I will hope they aren't getting caught up in the challenge and denying themselves the joy of just living the moment. I will do to that future young couple what I was doing the other night to the group of singles. I will wish them to know what I know now - I will hope they aren't wishing away their days, waiting for the next stage to hit.
Of course, I realize the implication for me for today. I need to stop wondering what our next phase will be like - stop thinking about how things might be different when Annie is five or ten or (gasp) sixteen. I need to just enjoy being that young couple I always wanted to be. The couple with the cute little two-year-old daughter that they chase after and tease and who's laughter is, undeniably, the best sound in the whole world.
And now, a few pictures of this current stage of life:
|Break time at the Farmer's Market.|
|Seriously, best thing ever.|
|Rocking a look.|
|She loves playing with Daddy.|
|It's breathtaking to watch your heart walk a few steps ahead of you.|