I know it sounds hopelessly cliche, but I can't believe how fast kids grow up. So many interminable stretches of days go by, mired in the hustle and bustle of this stuff called "life." In all the craziness that life presents, it seems the weekend can't arrive fast enough, that age 2 can't be outgrown soon enough, that the sassy first grade attitude can't be rid of quick enough. The great irony, of course, is that it is exactly in these seemingly endless stretches of days that life truly occurs. For in the blink of an eye, the weekend yields to Monday, age 2 gives way to 3 and that first grade sass finds itself subdued in the throes of second grade. In a society so focused on anticipating the future, we neglect the present, enjoying our lives in retrospect, rather than in the moment. Realizing how much of my kids' lives I tend to appreciate after-the-fact, it became my New Year's resolution to live presently. Being that I've failed MUCH more than I've managed to succeed, I will admit that I probably should have just committed to eating more beans or something more manageable like that, but hey, it's the effort and mindset that count.
Friday night was one of those rare but precious successes that I'm so grateful to have experienced. Ace and I went on a Cub Scout night hike up on Tantalus with his pack. Things didn't start off so happily, as I pulled into the campground after 20 minutes of kamikaze winding roads only to realize that I'd forgotten our flashlights. Not a big deal, unless you're crazy anal and just finished driving 20 minutes of kamikaze roads. I started to unhinge (my characteristic autopilot response), until I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the saddest look on Ace's face- he had been so excited about his first night hike, and I could tell that in one fell swoop, I had blown it. I resolved to pull it together and apologized, determined to salvage the evening and be in the moment. We joined our den with smiles and had the most fantastic time. We took in the stars and Jupiter and then embarked on our hike, which was pretty challenging for the little guys as it had rained recently and the ground was muddy and slippery. Along the route, Ace took a tumble over some overgrown roots, but he got back up, grinning, just loving every moment of his adventure in the night, fall and all. Kids have such a natural ability to be in the moment. (Just a side note about proper protocol upon scout's fall: do NOT, under any circumstances, shine someone else's flashlight into the steep embankment and ravine one foot away from where your child is treading, as it may incite profanity-laced exclamations about what would possess your cub master to choose such an insane trail of death.)
Ace and I savored the moments. It was amazing to experience everything for the first time through his eyes. Looking down upon the city lights, discovering constellations, watching his wonder as the campfire was lit and slowly burned down to embers over the course of an hour for S'mores.... I felt seven and a half again, giddy and so honored to have journeyed with him that night. Most of all, I'm so glad it was not just a fuzzy, distant experience to scrapbook and deem a happy memory. Life is most delicious when lived with the consciousness that happiness is.