Saturday, January 01, 2011

If I Could See The Future, Part One

If I could see the future, decision making would be a lot easier.  I’ve heard that when making decisions you should think about the ramifications and benefits in five or fifteen years. When it comes to life and parenting unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball.  But it sure would be nice sometimes. 

As I write this, I am sitting up waiting to ring in the new year with the older girls, the only hold outs who haven’t fallen asleep.  It seems natural to think about the future on New Year’s Eve, doesn’t it?  I’ve been having a lot of moments lately that have left me frazzled and beat.  It pushes me to make decisions that I wonder if I’ll like when I look back.

If could see the future, I wonder what I know at  thirty-five that I would love to go back and tell myself at twenty-five?  Would the things I worried about make sense now?  Would my decisions be different?

Ten years ago, I was twenty-five and I had three very young children.  I was worried about a lot of things.  Schedules, bedtimes, bottles, pacifiers and messes.  Brands of diapers, brands of clothes, getting a van with two doors that didn’t look like a box (none of which we could afford).  Looking forward to the kids starting preschool, kindergarten, gymnastics.  Running the house and our life exactly the way I thought it should be. 

If I could go back to those days I would tell myself to worry less and enjoy more.  Those years are too fast and too precious.  Those babies are all grown up and in school.  Those years are the foundation for these years.  I fear that I missed the simple joys of those days.

If I could see the future, I wonder what I might know at forty-five?  What would I tell myself now?  Well, I don’t know.  Because thankfully I’m not forty-give yet and my kids are still at home.  So I still have a chance.  There are still things I worry about.  Things I want.  Things that frustrate me.  I don’t want to look back and regret how I spent my time or the decisions I made. 

If I could see the future, maybe I would tell myself to worry less and enjoy more.  These years are fast and precious.  A few weeks ago Mike and I had a decision to make.  Our neighbors had puppies and the kids had begged to get one.  We declined because I didn’t want a dog; too much work, too messy.  Two weeks before Christmas they called and offered us the last one. 

I think I realized when they brought the puppy over on Christmas morning that maybe in ten years I will look back and think it was silly.  Silly to say no to the kind of joy we had that day for a small amount of inconvenience. 

If I could see the future, I might see a big dog laying in the grass at Grant’s graduation party. A big part of our family’s life.  And another ten years that flew by and slipped away. 

Tonight, we had to cancel our trip to my Grandparents for a very special event thanks to a Minnesota blizzard.  I hemmed and hawed about having people over, which my family was begging me to do.  My house wasn’t that clean.  I didn’t have a plan.  I had limited groceries in the house.  Guess what?  It was fine.  We were stuffed.  We were happy.  It was much nicer than staying home alone stressing about how perfect the house was not.

If I could see the future, I might see my still imperfect house filled with friends, love and laughter. 

If you could see the future, what do you think you might see?  What would you want to tell yourself in ten years?  Will the things that trouble you, inspire you, consume you be worth it?  Like it or not, the future will become the present.

1 comment:

Peter and Nancy said...

Well, we didn't get married until Peter was 28 and I was 27, so I guess I'd go back and tell our dating selves to hurry up and get married. :o) Then we could've started being parents when we were YOUNGER!

I know what you mean about years flying by . . . our oldest son turned 10 this year, and it seems like such a short time! I'm with you on having people over when my house looks "lived in." Life is too short to have to make everything perfect.

So, I couldn't tell from the post -- did you say yes to the dog??
Happy New Year!