When my husband went to his 20th high school reunion, he told his classmates I had stayed home with our newborn infant.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” said someone, sniggering. “I’m so glad we are done with that.”
We often hear this since we were not able to have our second child until we were almost 40.
Sometimes I do feel like I’m behind everyone in the race to finish raising our children or like I’m caught in some Groundhog’s Day style of my life 10 years ago with my now 14 year old. I’m not angry enough about it to smash an alarm clock but here’s a video to give you the feel:
But most of the time I’m loving it. I marvel at the parents and teachers I get to meet. I would never know them if I hadn’t had a child at this moment in time.
This Friday I went on a field trip with some of those teachers and Quinton’s preschool class to the Windmill Gardens. I had been here before with my oldest but the experience is new and fresh with my youngest. I helped strap each and every child safely into car seats, navigated children who produce more energy than the sun, and marveled as they learned to spot tulips with our fearless guide Leslie.
We found gleaming goldfish in tanks, stared at the plastic alligator to be absolutely certain he was not real, and planted verbena in square pots with dirt falling off our fingers remembering to keep it out of our mouths.
We capped off our time by sitting on the paved path near the greenery and the Tea Madame Tea Shop with our tiny plastic cups of Gold Mountain Rooibos tea (Some of us loved it. Others not so much.)
On the way back to school, a blonde called out to the teacher that she wasn’t buckled after I could swear I’d gotten them all.
“I’m sure you did,” sighed the patient teacher as she climbed out of the driver’s seat to get the girl snapped back together.
Before having Quinton, I thought I remembered what it was like to have a little one (and others constantly tell me they remember) but I find it’s so much more memory inducing to do it again.
For a taste of my life if yours are grown or nearly grown, break out one of your child’s favorite books and read it to a young child today. I promise you will fill up with memories you’d forgotten and also face the shock of realizing it’s not the same to read it to someone else.
In the end, having a child now shapes my life. Whether you have your child in your teens, 20’s, 30’s or 40’s or you raise a grandchild, your experience will be your own.
I agree with the author of Ecclesiastes with that time and place for everything but that time and place may not be the same for everyone. Abraham’s wife Sarah, after all, was 90 in Genesis. Mary was in her teens. I’m betting there are other examples in other traditions of people doing things out of the normal time that worked out marvelously.
I stand in good company and let people snigger all they want. I’d even bet that many of you have found joy in doing things at the ‘wrong’ time of life.
Field trips with a van full of preschoolers fill my days with smiles, unbucklers and all.