By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings
Several years ago, my sister and I took our daughters and nieces to the mall to have a group picture done. It seemed like such a good idea at the time, a perfect moment to capture the cuteness and innocence of five girls under four.
I muse joyfully on our quest and muse even more joyfully on the picture that came from that sitting, the portrait that aptly captures the chaos, the cries, the abject misery of wet diapers, hungry children, exhausted mothers, frustrated photographers.
Looking at the picture now, there really is no child who looks even slightly content. Olivia, the oldest, now a college senior, looks like she’s just completely checked out, perhaps thinking, “When can I get out of here?” Elise and Maria, currently college freshmen, both personify “tantrum.” And Anne and Kiki, both students at the University of Massachusetts, appear utterly confused and perhaps wondering, “What have our aunts done to us?”
It’s pictures like these that make me laugh and bring me right back to the utter exhaustion babies and toddlers can bring. This day was not unlike many – so many moments of cries followed by crackers and naps, moments of the bliss of an early to bed, a cartoon, a pause in the caretaking of children.
When people remark, “You’ll miss these days” I’ve found that for me, well, that’s not entirely true. Sure, the girls were adorable, funny, alive, silly, easily amused and bewildered, but today it’s so much fun now to share interests, have conversations about politics, books, movies.
I like that they drive, can determine if they will nap on their own, order their own coffee and meals, oftentimes will even pay for them. Bliss.
I hope, as I age, I do not look back and remark, “Oh, those were the good old days.” I like life now – and while certainly times passed have had things that were indeed easier – it was delightful when my children believed me when I told them Dunkin Donuts was all out of doughnuts, when they raced each other to get ready for bed – but today, while college tuition is pricey, teenagers can be challenging, I celebrate the bliss of all these girls growing older, more aware, independent, interesting.
I muse joyfully you enjoy the state you are in, the states of your children and loved ones. And should you be missing those moments of tantrums and wet diapers, do gaze at this photo for a bit; perhaps you’ll remember the accuracy of life as it often was – certainly fun, certainly entertaining, but definitely better after crackers and a nap.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Spaulding High School in Rochester and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.