Repost: Don’t Worry, Be Happy. (2006)

There are a million and one reasons that I am thankful for my children every day. One of those reasons keeps itself firmly situated in the forefront of my thoughts.

I was one of those kids that desperately wanted to grow up too fast. I always wanted to be older, wiser, hang out with the “big kids”. I started babysitting at 10 to make “my own money”, then started “really” working at age 14 (Larsen’s Bakery) and didn’t stop working until I quit my job to stay home with Gracie. I graduated from high school early, I packed 18 credits into my college semesters to graduate and get a good job. I got married at 22. I had my first child at 26. I have a mortgage, a Last Will, life insurance, an IRA and a decent and well-balanced investment portfolio. My children have savings accounts and college funds. I have appointed an executor for my will, and I have planned a trust fund and appointed guardianship of my children in case something happens to Augie and me. Sometimes (gulp) I worry about retirement.

This is how my brain works. I worry, then I plan, then I worry, then I plan. My worrying keeps me planning and my planning keeps us “safe”. (Ever heard of the term “magical thinking”? That’s me.) All of this is a big part of who I am. For awhile, this part of me dominated my life, dominated my thoughts, and dominated the thought that went into choices I made. Now, there is an upside to this, I am very organized when it comes to budgeting and running my household, and it does comfort me to know that my children will be taken care of in the manner that I wish for them in the event of a terrible accident or something…BUT every once in awhile I wonder how the “other half” lives, you know, people who don’t worry the way I do, the people that really live for the day and don’t let worrying about tomorrow creep into their thoughts. They seem really happy a lot of the time don’t they? Do they have it all figured out? Is that the way to live and to hell with tomorrow? Am I in need of anxiety medication here? OR Are they irresponsible? Don’t they owe it to their children to plan for the unknown? Will they wind up drowning in “life for the day” credit card debt? I don’t know. I suspect there is just a happy balance to find. A balance that allows for responsible planning AND living in the moment every day.

This brings me back to my original thought. One of the many reasons I am so thankful for my girls.

Because of them I have been given an opportunity to go back to the beginning and experience growing up all over again, by watching them do it. Not just watching, but laughing, jumping, exploring, asking, singing, tickling, crying, drawing, painting, you name it, right along with them. I have re-learned to love so many childhood joys; animals, springtime, sprinklers, snow, airplanes flying overhead, clock towers that you can see from the freeway, huge piles of apples at the grocery store, the lady who gives out free cookies at the bakery, dogs. Gracie makes me see things differently and I love her for it. My kids may never know that one of the greatest gifts they have to give me is sharing their childhood with me. One of the many gifts I am committed to giving them is making sure they don’t try to grow up too fast. To make sure they spend as much time as they want just being kids.

© Sara 2006

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