Sep 1, 2009

Slip-slidin' away

Last night, after a harrowing experience trying to buy groceries at our local Hy-Vee (including having my credit card declined, leaving my checkbook in the car, and having to lug a tired and fussy Griffin back-and-forth through the parking lot to get said checkbook), I drove through town trying to keep Griffin asleep in his carseat for a decent amount of time. Just before we got home, we drove past the park where Duncan played baseball this summer, and I got hit with some serious nostalgia.

It's crazy because all I did this summer was complain about the baseball season, about how everyone got to do what they wanted while I had to take care of a baby that was trying desperately to give up his third nap of the day, but didn't really know how to do it. I complained about working 8 hours a day and then coming home with a fussy Griffin only to have Patrick  and Duncan bail on me to head to practice (a WHOLE hour before the game started!). I'd feed Griffin, pack his diaper bag, load him (and every toy and snack known to man) into the car and we'd head to the game. Most of this was done for my own sanity. I could sit at the games around other adults, and maybe, just maybe those adults would want to play with or hold a cute baby.

Despite my best efforts, we'd always get there late and have to park as far away from the field as humanly possible. I'd grunt and groan trying to get the stroller out of the car and do the same getting Griffin situated. Then there was the sunscreen and the hat, which he immediately pulled off his head (and please don't suggest a hat with straps - the kid knows how to work around those, too).

The sad thing is that I don't even remember most of the games. I was usually chasing after Griffin or trying to appease him with some snacks or a book or a toy. A lot of times I'd just take him for a walk. Honestly, it was a lot of work.

But driving by the park last night, with the sun just starting to set, all I wanted was to go back to those early summer nights. Those baseball nights. I'd take the struggling with the stroller and the diaper bag and Griffin just to be able to sit out there and relish the beginning of the season and all that I could look forward to.

This is what I do at the end of every summer. Maybe it's a bit of regret for the things I didn't get to do. The things I forgot to do. The things I didn't truly enjoy. I feel like I spent my summer rushing around, feeling tense, running from one thing to the next. I haven't really stopped much to enjoy things, and now it feels too late.

I'm trying to slow down a bit. Really, I'm trying.


Christina Heald said...

I know that feeling, too. Stressing about too many things that would ultimately take my energy and time away from my kids has been how I spent my summer. And now...that all the bigger ones have left to go to school and I am left with just a few little ones, I have found the house to be peaceful. Yet, I miss the big ones now. As much as I feel instantaneously mobile with 2-3 small kids, I miss the sound of laughter and conversation that comes with school agers. I will admit, Griffin and the other little ones miss the big ones too, but also love all the extra attention they get now that they're gone.

Fall brings the closing of the swimming pool and the end to the chaos of packing the picnic cooler, the pool bag, finding all the swim suits, shirts, diapers, goggles, and pool toys. There is no more 45 minutes before hand to slather up all the kids in sunscreen. It was so much work to take everyone to the pool this summer and it was SUCH a process...yet, I always miss it this time of year. I would love to go back and do it again. Have more fun than I was already managing with everything else on my plate. Go there, with all the kids, without any cares--just for the thrill of going and the fun of the play. Normally--this is how the summer goes. This summer was different and as I look back, I hope everyone had fun.

I know I could have done it better--like in years past--but I managed to get through it. I spent the summer "Managing" to get through each day because it would bring just a glimpse of respite over the weekend and managing to get through each week so I would be one month closer to the end of this year and all the terrifying worries it brought me. I managed to get through more than half of my year so far and as much as that is an accomplishment in and of itself, I wish I could go back--to some parts--for a "Do Over".

As I sit listening to the dishwasher running and to Griffin's breathing while he naps I wouldn't trade in these moments, though. I waited for them. I needed the slowing down. I needed to regroup. And as I sit here looking at him sleep--I know he had a ball this summer. He learned how to stand with his swim shorts positioned right over the water geyser so it would bubble up over his buns on one shorts leg and come out over on the other side. He laughed heartily. He played hard and learned lots and now he is beginning to walk. He and the others needed the break also in the commotion of my house as well so they could get down to business here too. We can't go back, but as we look forward--there are so many promising things that are still in store for all of us. And next summer will be different--he'll be running and you'll need to chase after him at Duncan's games. Better get some good sneakers...the best is yet to come.

Tracy said...

I miss picking him up from your house and smelling the sunscreen in his hair and his neck. I always told him, "You smell like a day at the beach." :-)

Thank you for giving him those experiences. We love you for that.