Last Friday I ventured out with my little family for a late lunch at our favorite restaurant. With our first baby, we discovered that hitting this particular restaurant at an off-hour like 2:00 pm and sitting in the quiet little booth tucked away in the bar area, that we could have a relatively enjoyable lunch with minimal disruption to the regular patrons in case a baby cried or if I had to discreetly nurse. We wanted to see if we could pull off the whole going out to eat thing with the four of us and feel some sense of normalcy in doing a family activity outside the confines of our home.
The experience was somewhat of a success, but nonetheless tiring as I chased after my daughter who felt the need to run to the potty a million times and my husband rocked a crying, gassy baby. We had the whole divide and conquer thing perfected by the end of lunch, but me and hubs felt like we barely had a chance to talk to each other. We knew it was time to leave as the place began filling up with the Friday Happy Hour crowd. We were taking up space at a much coveted table and could sense that our presence would soon be an annoyance. Or maybe I just felt self-conscious? It made me yearn for my carefree childless days just a little though. It also made me wonder what the hell I did with my free time before we had kids. I honestly can’t remember.
As we walked our little bundles of joy to the car, I noticed a cute elderly couple sitting on a bench outside enjoying the sun and fresh air. When we walked past them, the older gentleman said to his wife, “There go the lucky ones.” I smiled knowing what he meant and replied, “Yes, but it can be very tiring sometimes.” He replied, “No! Enjoy your family and young kids now. This is the best time of your lives.”
I love these little reality checks I get when I least expect them to remind me that life is pretty good. It is not always easy and sometimes I feel like I’m old or lame and that I am no longer in my prime. But he’s right, we have to enjoy this time now. In fact, we should enjoy every phase of our lives as much as possible, right? Life with little kids is not always as easy or fun as it used to be. And rather than Happy Hours and late nights out, my social calendar is filled with family movie nights and toddler birthday parties. But at least I don’t wake up the next morning with a hangover much anymore. Instead, I am awakened surrounded by the unconditional love of my family. Yes, these are the best years indeed.