Oh, the daily adulting life. Rise and shine early in the morning hours, make breakfast, rush kids to the bus or school, go to work, come home, cook dinner, shower, and maybe a bit of relaxation…and then sleep. Then you wake up the next morning and rinse and repeat until Friday rolls around. Two days off, poof, it’s Monday, and we get to do it all over again…
I’m exaggerating a bit – life typically isn’t that mundane. In general, there’s a little more jazz to the day, and life is good. Work, kids, home, friends, family, etc. But through the tough times. It can be grueling. Sometimes dissatisfying. Situations get hairy. Time flies, and you lose track of days.
Mama Needs a Sign
I love those children of mine with all my heart and soul. And I know they love me. But sometimes there’s those, “You ungrateful little(fill in the blank)!” and, “Holy, they take me for granted” times that make me want to growl.
And that’s when you might need it most. A sign! A sign that you are making a difference in the lives of the ones you love and value most. A sign that your existence in their lives matters. Then you realize that they’ve been there all along. It’s those little things that often become the most meaningful moments.
Small gestures and small happenings that seem like nothing at the time, but wind up meaning the most in the long run. During the daily grind and occasional madness, it’s these minor incidents or funny jokes that pop up and just stick.
Expect the Unexpected: Those unplanned and casual occurrences that solidify that our connections are real.
- When my husband has the morning shift during the week, I take the opportunity to sleep in a bit. My daughter usually comes up and lays down in bed with me for a while before leaving for the school bus. One time recently, as she headed out of bed, the blanket shifted, and one of my arms was no longer fully covered. No big deal. But before she headed out of my bedroom, she turned back around and pulled the blanket over me fully to make sure I was covered. Then gave me a kiss and headed out.
- My son gets up and out in the crack of dawn. Literally, it’s the rush of our lives every morning, and by the time he needs to leave, I’m shoving him out the door, so he does not miss his bus. It’s not every day, but sometimes he surprises me with an, “I love you,” as he leaves.
- We had a box of Keebler Club Crackers. Seriously, I can’t even tell you where they came from, as I don’t think I’ve ever bought them in my life, but nonetheless, there they were! Anyway, one night, my daughter and I had some crackers and butter before bed. And the next night, she asked for more crackers and butter, only this time we finished up the box. On our next run to the store, my daughter picked out those same Keebler Club Crackers and placed them in our cart. The crackers were the furthest thing from my mind, but that time we spent together was one of those meaningful moments.
The “Remember When”: Funny stories or memories that are etched in our minds for no apparent reason.
- “Mom, remember when you thought you lost your house keys, and we went all the way back to the little league field in the dark, and they were in your bag the whole time? That was funny, right mom?” This was 3 summers ago.
- “Remember when I had that rash all over my stomach, and you thought it was heat rash, and it was really sand fleas? Always mentioned when we head to the beach.
- “Hey Mom, remember that time there was no school the next day, and we stayed in your bed until 2 a.m. watching Friends? Next time there’s no school, can we do it again?”
- “It was so funny that time we played Cheat (better known as bull-something in my younger days), and she went to put down an eight for a queen. And then screamed out, “One Eight! when she should have said, “One Queen!” Every time we play cards, no matter what the game.
The “But This is What We Always Do”: Family-made traditions created without intention. Goodness forbid we “miss” a tradition!
- Whenever our family goes on an overnight trip, we must go to a 7-11 type store to buy a bunch of munchies for the hotel room.
- If my husband is out of town, my daughter “always” sleeps in my bed on Thursday nights.
- McDonald for dinner on the Hebrew School days.
- Shopping at Stew Leonard’s on New Year’s Eve day and purchasing a ridiculous amount of food for that evening.
The Moments that Live On
Many close relationships have these running jokes or cute interactions that seemed insignificant at the time. Yet, they become meaningful moments associated with the connection. Like calling out my father about the numerous times, he talked about the runny eggs he ate in the army. Or the tradition of buying a Swanson’s TV Dinner on the nights my parents went out for date night.
A friend and I have a running joke about watermelons – since high school! And whenever either of us sees anything watermelon related, we think of each other. Or a college friend where our friendship really clicked when I made fun of how purple her frozen yogurt was, and to this day, it’s still a thing.
And last but not least, the time I finally realized that the Hutchinson River Parkway was named for Anne M. Hutchinson – even though there’s quite a huge sign on the parkway indicating this exact fact. After years and years of driving on this road together, one day, I screeched to my husband, “Oh! that’s why it’s called the Hutch?!” And ever since, if we are on the Hutch, my husband will point to the sign and say, “Look! Anne M Hutchinson.” (Not sure if I should consider this as one of those meaningful moments or if he’s just making fun of me – but I’m going to go with the former!).
We’ll Always Have Paris
That’s a line from the classic movie Casablanca. A great line referring to an experience with someone that you treasure. A moment that we’ll always have. The tiniest of things can be monumental in a relationship. And the best thing is that you never know when it’s going to happen.
They pop up here and there to remind us that our relationships matter and to be thankful. Lovely signs of life shining through that make all the difference in the world. It’s something that we went through together – and as insignificant it is to the world at large, it’s just the opposite to us. To us, they are meaningful moments to a fault. A point in time that’s symbolic to the relationship.
So, yeah – my children get it, and they feel it. It might not always be 100% evident, but the signs are there. The impact of our interactions sneaks through at various times and ways. And often when we need it the most.