I've Loved These Days

I almost strangled my kids this morning.

We are incredibly fortunate to have our whole family together at day camp in the summer - the kids as campers and my husband and I, teachers during the school year, in administrative positions. Every morning, the kids wait in the Welcome Center building while we get situated for the day and then we walk them to their bunks.

Except for this morning. This morning, they decided to go take a walk. After several terrifying minutes, which felt more like an hour, we found them down by the lake.

"What were you thinking?" I yelled at them. "You NEVER leave the Welcome Center without a grown up! Ever! What if you fell in that lake and no grownups knew where you were?"

They looked up at me with wide, terrified eyes, especially my daughter who, at three years old, has never been in real trouble.

"I told someone--, " my 5 year old son started to explain.

"No, you didn't," my husband cut him off. "We asked all of the grown ups."

With a huge, beautiful smile, so happy to be able to come to her big brother's rescue, my princess announced, "He told me!"

Every parent has experienced those moments where you are trying to be serious and angry and make a point and then your kid makes you laugh. This was one of those moments for me. I struggled to keep a straight face so that they would understand the gravity of what they had done.

Later in the morning, I happened to wander past my daughter's bunk. She came running over and threw her arms around my legs.

"Mommy, we were just checking out the boats and then you yell at us but we were just checking out them."

I melted. Honestly, who could stay mad at this face?

That night, I told the story to my parents and we laughed about my daughter's announcement that she knew where she and her brother were going, even if they hadn't told an adult.

And in that moment, it occurred to me that this is one of those stories that we will tell for the rest of their lives.

One day, when she is a teenager, I will look back fondly on the days when our biggest issue was with her wandering off at camp and when a stern talking to got her so upset that she threw her arms around my legs in apology.

One day, I will tell his children about the time that their father and aunt wandered off at camp and how much trouble they got in.

One day, these will be the good old days.

It's just so difficult to see it when we're right in the middle of them, isn't it?

My daughter just turned 3. My son will be in 1st grade in just a few short weeks. It's hard to believe when it seems like just yesterday that my husband and I met. But, actually, it has been ten years.

The days sure are long but the years are fast.

So I am making a promise to myself and to my family. I am going to make an effort to remember that these are the good old days. We are living in them, right now.

Our kids are young. Our parents are healthy. We have our problems like anyone else but, in general, life is good.

And the next time that my kids act like little stinkers, I am going to try to move as quickly as I can to the part where we hug and laugh and appreciate the moment before it becomes a memory.


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