A couple months ago I was riding in the car with my parents and my son as we headed to Durham to enjoy a baseball game. My dad was driving, my mom was in the front passenger seat and I was in the back sitting next to my son in his car seat. As I was looking out the window at the trees and houses as we passed I had this overwhelming feeling rush over me. It felt like I was sixteen again riding in the car with my family headed out to dinner or a movie, minus the fact that my son was next to me; that would have been my brother, and he wouldn’t have been in a car seat!
I was flooded with razor-sharp nostalgia for my younger days when life was laid-back with no real responsibilities other than making sure I was getting my homework finished, figuring out the next joke to play on my brother, or trying to score goals during my lacrosse games. Feeling nostalgic for the days that, when you’re in the moment experiencing them, you don’t realize you’re going to miss them, but once you’re older you wish you could relive them all over again.
Please don’t interpret this as me being unhappy in my current life. I really could not ask for more, except maybe more coffee and cheesecake! I have a wonderful, caring husband who goes above and beyond each and every day to ensure we, as a family, are living the best life possible. Working himself ragged through twelve-hour days then coming home and not missing a beat to help me around the house, mow the lawn, do bathtime, or anything else that needs to be accomplished that evening. Our son has made me happier than I ever imagined. It’s difficult to remember what life was like before he was born! Oh, we do have those trying moments, (throwing a tantrum in Target because I won’t allow him to put every toy he sees in the cart) but there is nothing I enjoy more than being his mother. Hats off to my parents as well, who encourage and support us through all the good times and bad, who have given our family more love, guidance, and opportunities than we could have ever have dreamed of. The saying ‘it takes a village’ really nails my life on the head.
That feeling of nostalgia was one that I reveled in, if only for a fleeting moment. When I was younger, riding in the car with my family was something that I enjoyed because it was a rare time that we were all together. Before the days of iPhones and constant access to the internet, we were more connected to each other, having silly conversations about anything and everything. My mom never allowed us to wear headphones in the car; she encouraged us to engage in conversation with each other. Even if we weren’t talking, we were together and that is all that mattered. I cherish those moments deeply now, since my brother passed away, knowing I will never have the chance to recreate them.
If you’re reading this and you are still in your teens (or younger) or even an adult who needs a gentle reminder, hang on to all the moments that you can, whether you think they are important or not. In the days of social media and capturing each memory on your Instagram or Snapchat, try to put your phone down and just embrace it; live in it. Put the memory in your hard-drive (aka brain) so it will be with you forever since chances are, your iPhone won’t be. If you don’t, you might one day be thirty, riding in the car with your parents and realize how much you wish you could have just one of those moments back. One more moment of not paying bills or keeping a small human alive, or going to midnight movies with your brother, sister or friend; another day where you don’t have to wonder if you ordered more dog food or have anything in the fridge to make for dinner. I remember adults telling me when I was younger that I was going to miss ‘this’ or ‘that’ when I grew older and they were right; I realize now how prophetic their advice was. When I give this same advice to younger kids now, I am certain they have the same thoughts I did; it’s all part of growing up.
After that moment of nostalgia passed another one quickly came, one that made me giggle, speak up and tell my parents, “I feel like I have reached that point in life where I should be the one driving you guys around.” Have you ever had that feeling? Where you have officially surpassed your parents in a way that you should be performing the task instead of them? It then led me to think, does that officially make me old?!