“I miss them at that age,” I said more than once this past week. I don’t know what I was thinking except a very narrow-minded, rose-colored memory that little kids are just a joy. Not that I don’t mind having an 18, 15, 13, 10 and 9 year old, not at all. But this past week I spent time with friends who had younger kids including a six and three year old. They loved being read to and I could throw them in the air without hurting myself. Later in the week I even held a one year-old and she loved being lifted up and down, but then wanted her mom back.
It’s all good. My kids did very well the 14 hour drive from Yucaipa to Medford last Monday and the two 8 hour drives later that week. I haven’t forgotten past road trips with more frequent rest-stops, crying, tantrums and the high maintenance of the younger children. I think that while there are fond memories of the very young kids, they are definitely easier to travel with as they get older. The real challenge in my life as I’m this age is to accept the things I cannot change, like the fact that I have three teenagers and the ones who are not teenagers don’t need to be read to as often as before.
It was heart-warming to see all the younger children at the Faux Family reunion. We do it every two years. Not too many years ago we were the parents with some of the youngest kids. Now there are even younger ones. Of the Faux Family, I am one of the youngest grandchildren. My kids are the great-grandchildren and one family has a great-great grandchild. Every two years I see my cousins and aunts and uncles have aged and how much the kids have grown.
Time inevitably rolls forward sapping strength and adding years to us all. I don’t know if I should start worrying about not seeing some folks at the next family reunion in two years. But it’s encouraging to see new faces each year. Not only are new children but also new spouses added in. Time doesn’t just take as it moves on, it also adds.
I’m still a little tired from the drive yesterday. I had an idea as to what to write about and it sort of went its own way and this being a writing exercise, I like to just let that happen.
It’s nice having a big family that all shares grandparents. I wanted to share that when I was considering what to write. But I know that not everyone has a family, big or small or nice. Well before our family reunion we visited friends so close that we call them family. Up until recently most of my kids thought we were related because of our use of the Hawaiian Style, calabash “auntie and uncle” titles. But there is no blood relation. We are just that close. And I realized that if someone doesn’t have a real family they can call their own, there is hope that they could at least have another family or just close friend that they can call that.
That was the point I thought about driving down Interstate 5 yesterday. But today is the first day after vacation and I go back to work tomorrow. I’m still kind of tired from the drive and the change in routine all last week. My blog this week is sporadic and confused. If it makes any difference, I’ve got my next one in mind. But for today, I’m going to try to re-acclimate and appreciate the kids I have. I’m glad their mine and someday I’m sure I’ll miss them at this age.