One of my very favorite traits of the Loud One is that so many of her sentences start with the words, “I can’t wait for…!”
Sometimes the sentence ends with something big like “…our vacation to the Bahamas” or “…my birthday party!” But there are other times when she is truly excited about something extremely routine like, “I can’t wait for art class tomorrow… we’re painting dinosaurs!” or “I can’t wait to wear that blue dress again! It’s my favorite and it’s been in the laundry for sooooo long!” (Whatever, shut up.)
LO never experiences that “let-down” that most of us experience at the end of something we’ve looked forward to for a long time, because she’s already moved on to the next thing.
It’s either the World’s Greatest Outlook on Life or a Genius Coping Mechanism. Either way, she wins.
We all do this – look forward to things – even as we get older (maybe just not to the extent the LO does). As the years go on, we look forward to school breaks or even just the weekend, brunch with friends, meeting “The One,” the next date with “maybe The One,” vacations, getting married, having babies, and then… um… retirement?
Seriously, what comes next?
I’ve been thinking about this and I’ve decided that I completely understand the mid-life crisis thing now (which makes perfect sense considering I’m MIDDLE-AGED!! NOOOO!!!).
I get the identity crisis. I get the red Ferrari. And while, I don’t CONDONE the affair (be it with a trainer, pool guy or someone younger and hotter than your spouse) AT ALL, I kind of get it.
As we get old (er), we are actively seeking something exciting – something different – to look forward to.
Part of the problem is that if you have young kids, even the “exciting” things – weekends, vacations, etc. – still maintain a bit of their mundaneness. (Mundanacity?) And the weekends and vacations without your kids are few and far between because, well, to do that too frequently would be negligent. (Sorry… don’t kill the messenger.)
A friend of mine with whom I volunteer at the school library walked in last week looking a bit down. I asked her she was OK and with a deep sigh that had me worried something terrible had happened, she said, “I am just so, so tired of doing laundry. I feel like I am on an endless cycle of washing and drying and folding. Repeat.”
YES. Now substitute “carpooling” or “meal-planning/preparing” or “working at a stressful job” for laundry – or don’t because laundry actually works perfectly – and YES… haven’t we all been there?
So now, summer is almost here. We have some camps booked for the kids and a vacation planned as well. We also have a lot of open afternoons and many free days. Yet instead of thinking about all the possibilities, I’ve been focused on the fact that we had three days of 90 degree weather and it wasn’t even June yet. I have NOT been saying, “I can’t wait for… !!”
(I’ve also been focused on the full-time job of managing end-of-school-year activities. Jen Hatmaker brilliantly wrote about this HERE. I’m sure you’ve read this already, but if you haven’t, go do it now. And then carve out some time because you’ll want to read it again later.)
So, starting now, I have changed my attitude.
The kids and I have made a list of some of the things we want to do this summer* and I’m going to put them on my calendar (color-coded orange for “kids’ activity,” of course) so that it’s all right there in print.
And then I’m going to GET PSYCHED. I’m going to steal a play right out of LO’s playbook and look forward to these not-at-all-lazy days of summer. I’m going to start saying, “I can’t wait for… !” at least once a day. (Fake it ’til you make it, right?)
I CAN’T WAIT FOR MY STARBUCKS ICED LATTE TOMORROW!!
*Our Summer Activity List is a work in progress, but here’s what we’ve come up with so far:
- Transportation Day in NYC (take a train, subway, bus and taxi all in one day… boat would be bonus)
- Ride the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
- Picnic at the beach with all foods that can be eaten with toothpicks
- Conduct a stuffed animal safari in the backyard
- See “Monsters University;” eat popcorn and candy for lunch
- Overnight to Newport, RI
- Yankee game with LO & Nibbit – ice cream, popcorn, hot dogs and maybe a little baseball
- Fishing (LO is DYING to go fishing; this will probably fall under KJ’s jurisdiction being as I don’t love boats… or fishing)
- Potty train Happy Dude (OK, I’m not going to actually look forward to that one, but maybe if I put it on the calendar, I’ll actually do it.)