Thursday, June 2, 2011

We're all in this together

{Lucy T. holds baby Carter after showing me her collection of bug drawings and performing at least a dozen cartwheels}

A few weeks ago I dropped everything and flew (with the babe, of course) to Utah. Although I always feel strange leaving my children, I knew they were in the capable and loving arms of my husband, my parents, my husband's parents, and even several aunties (we recognize how lucky we are), so I decided to revel in the opportunity to visit a place I love and many people I adore, all while having lots of time just for holding and feeding my baby.

A lot of things about the trip stand out. The way I couldn't stop grinning as I walked through the Salt Lake airport. How elated I felt driving up University Parkway and through the tree streets. How lovingly I sat in Grandma's home--the home I lived in as a newlywed, the home I brought two babies home to. How fun and free I felt as my SIL Sara and I shopped and worked on wedding plans and watched chick flicks late into the night.

But what has stuck with me most following the trip were some observations I made as I visited my friends.

Observation no. 1: Your children are precious.

In the absence of my boys, I had unprecedented time and attention to give to my friend's children. I held them and beheld them. I watched Lucy T victoriously jump rope across the back patio. I smiled and cheered when she was successful and felt her frustration when the rope got caught up in her dress. I smiled as I watched Spencer--just up from a nap--rest his ruffled little head lovingly on his mother's chest. I marveled as Bronx and Bo (so grown up!) served me lunch so darlingly ("Would you like another sandwich, Anne? How about some ice water?"). I held Avery and became so enchanted with her one-of-a-kind personality that I found myself asking her to pray down a little girl just like her for me. I wanted to eat Ollie's big baby cheeks. Lucy B. dazzled me with her curliest of all hair and Disney princess eyes. Her brother Charlie charmed me with his blonde locks, glasses, and coy grin. I sat on the couch with Claire and felt my jaw drop as she (who just turned 4!) read me a book well beyond her years. I held her brother Charlie, with the best round face I ever saw, and wanted to sneak him home in my suitcase. I watched Elinor and John chase each other around their living room and wished for the same energy and free-wheeling exuberance.

I loved every breath of it.

Observation no. 2: We're all in this together.

Without fail, apologies were made in every one of my friend's homes. "Sorry my house is such a mess." "I guess I should have combed her hair!" "Go ahead and use the bathroom; no promises as to how it looks!" "I'm Sorry he's acting like this!" They were the same apologies I make every single day. And it made me think, we don't need to apologize to each other. We're all about the same work. We all have messier than we prefer homes, occasionally whiny or sassy children, and some level of general bedlam in our lives. That's the way it is. No explanations or apologies necessary.

I came home renewed and ready to behold my little ones. (Nothing like a little vacation to fill you up with energy and patience!) I'm trying not to focus on the spilled chocolate chips and the screaming fights over legos and the potty training regression. I'm trying instead to see the tiny freckles across Blaine's cheeks and the way Roger moves his chubby little hands. I'm trying not to get so hot and bothered as I wipe up the kitchen floor seven times a day, but just be glad I have little ones eating at my table.


p.s. One of the most awesome things I did in Utah? Appear on local TV. (I think I hear QVC calling...) {cue laughter}

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