Two weeks ago, my husband, daughter and I struggled to come up with a fun way to pass a Sunday afternoon. My mother-in-law had just been staying with us, and she left that morning to head back to Florida. Since I’d given our house a good, thorough “pre-mother-in-law-visit” cleaning before she arrived, I was completely caught up on chores and housework.
We thought about going to see a movie, but worried our 2-year-old, Reese, still is a bit too young for that. Perhaps next year.
We thought about bowling, but came to the same conclusion — our daughter’s not old enough.
We thought about heading over to the Savannah Civic Center, where they were holding ice-skating sessions. Again, Reese isn’t ready.
I’d actually been thinking a lot lately about all the things Reese is still too young to do. For a couple of years now, I’ve been looking forward to the day I could take my daughter to the Mother’s Day tea at the Midway Museum. It sounds lovely, but I know Reese will likely need to be at least 5 before we attend.
I also think she’d get a kick out of one of my favorite Savannah restaurants, The Melting Pot, which lets patrons “cook” their own food in pots of hot broth and oil right at the table. Not to mention, their cheese and chocolate dipping fondues are amazing. Still, I know my toddler is not ready to handle a mealtime setup like that. We’ll stick with Chick-fil-A for now.
As I lamented all the things my family cannot do right now because our daughter is too young, it suddenly dawned on me that I might be too wrapped up in wistfully looking to the future instead of enjoying the present.
Yes, we spend a lot of time at parks, restaurants that specialize in pizza and grilled cheese, petting zoos and indoor play areas at local malls. No, those aren’t really places I’d choose to visit on my own. But parenting isn’t about participating in activities that make moms and dads happy. It’s about doing age-appropriate things that children enjoy and relishing the delighted expressions on their cherubic little faces as they jump, run, explore and learn. It’s also about wiping pizza sauce off those same chubby faces.
There will be plenty of time for elegant tea parties, afternoon matinees and dinners at upscale restaurants. For now, I’ll focus on having fun with my daughter and ensuring that she has plenty of opportunities to just enjoy being a kid. If that means I have to occasionally slide down a slide or hop into a swing at the park, that’s fine. I’m just burning off calories in preparation for the cheese and chocolate fondue we’ll soon enjoy.