Laughter in Retrospect

I try not to complain too much.  Although, if you ask Sam, I'm not very successful.  I can already tell that there is truth to the wisdom that so many people tell me day in and day out - that these times with the kids go by too quickly, to cherish them, to enjoy them while I can, that I'm going to miss them when they're gone.

It's hard to fathom....

That I'm going to miss a bathroom rug covered in green kids' toothpaste just hours after putting it back down on the floor - because I felt industrious enough one day to wash and then hang dry them for the week it takes to get them completely dried.

That I'm going to miss finding piles and piles of crumpled up clothing that may or may not be clean on the floor of both of my girls' closets because they elect to change no less than a dozen times each per day.

That I'm going to miss perfect handprints left by pizza goldfish powder on my clean sheets, that once again, I finally washed, only to be soiled within literal minutes of putting them back on the bed.

That I'm going to miss the incessant inquiries for lollipops, sodas, chips, and "One more show" only to feel like a broken record when 19 times out of 20 the answer is a resounding "No."

That I'm going to miss the rapid deterioration of my body over the course of the day in my 8th month of pregnancy.  Though I may wake up feeling like a new woman, by the afternoon I can feel my back starting to hurt, and by night time I'm so achy and sore that I might as well declare it rigor mortis. 

Then I think back to that article I read "All Joy and No Fun:  Why Parents Hate Parenting" and my subsquent response via blog post about parenting ages ago.  The writers contended that studies show parents are inherently less "happy" than their childless peers.  You can read how I feel about that if you're so inclined.  I won't rehash for you again. 

But apparently, at this point, I'm grumpy and dwelling on the temporary unpleasantries of the day-to-day in parenting.  And now is when I need to recall the powerful conclusion to the original article.  When a psychologist (and also a parent) posed the question:

"I think this boils down to a philosophical question, rather than a psychological one,” says Gilovich. “Should you value moment-to-moment happiness more than retrospective evaluations of your life?”

The awesome thing is that when I think back to the green toothpaste and the goldfish powder and the ripping, aching, uncomfortableness of late pregnancy, the memories will be painted with a different paintbrush than the one I'm holding now.  I may or not "miss" these things, but I'll remember them with a fondness that God gifts only to parents in retrospect. 

For right now, it's hard to appreciate the retrospective view, since I am in the throes of all of the stages I hope some day to appreciate more.  I can think back to Ben's infancy and toddlerhood, but I'm living it with Sarah, and going through pregnancy at the same time, so it's slightly less glamorous than it one day will be.  I know this for sure.  One day, as I wave through teary eyes to my college-bound child and as I watch my husband walk one of our little girls down the aisle, I'll experience my "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" moment, and I'll give anything to have those cheesy handprints back.

I'm reminding myself of this today.

And, of course, all of the moments aren't ones I wish I could forget or hope to remember fondly someday.

We do plenty of laughing "in the present".

Mirth is God's medicine.  Everybody ought to bathe in it.  ~Henry Ward Beecher


Andrea said...

Urgent prayer request on Arise 2 Write and All Gods Creatures.


Laurie Trice said...

So well stated. That's why I love you.

Debbie said...

Stop making me cry.
Even that wonderful picture made me cry.


Emily said...

I can totally relate! Good to know I'm not the only one that feels this way some days.

Post a Comment

Before you go, I'd love to hear from you! Let me know what's on your mind! (Please and thank you.)

Back to Top