Who said it first? You know the quip old ladies exhale as a travelling circus spills out the seams of your shopping cart.
They smile. They remember when.
"Enjoy it," they say as they wave their crumpled shopping lists like the Pope waves his staff in a blessing.
"Enjoy it," they say because they know first hand that the trees and the forests of care taking can swirl into a blinding fury. And that, no, we young mothers can't tell them apart. That between the frenetic need to feed and clothe growing children and sort their clothes in bins and drawers and wipe crumbs and jelly off of counters and floors and couches and faces, we young mothers can easily, so easily get caught up in a whole lot of not enjoying it.
They also know that in spite of all the hard work, it only takes a second to make a choice. To turn on a dime. To lift up one's heart. To open one's eyes. To meet a nagging cry with a smile that's contagious. To set the tone of the home with a glance and a grin. Or the absence of one.
The old ladies know how simple, right and good -- but oftentimes hard -- it is to enjoy family life. They know because they were young mothers once too. They know because they look back on the days of intense mothering as the sweetest (or so they say; Although, I still have yet to meet one who actually wants to relieve me of just one of my precious offspring -- believe me, I've offered -- "Come on, just take one for 10 minutes while I hit the freezer section. I'll meet you at check out. Come on, lady. 'Enjoy it' yourself!")
But really. I know they're right. And so I find myself echoing their collective command as my children hang and cling and climb on me like a mommy jungle gym.
And then I'm surprised to find myself smiling as I rock a colicky baby on the porch while toddlers run in underpants under a summer sky. Knowing that my cup runneth over, knowing I'm so glad this crazy, sweet life is mine to enjoy.
"I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; also that it is God's gift to man that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil."
PS: A little Simeon update:
Our precious baby is doing so well. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia did confirm through DNA testing that he does have Noonans Syndrome. I know I had written that he originally tested negative for pulmonary valve stenosis (the heart defect associated with Noonans) but further testing revealed that he in fact does have the defect. However, we met with a specialist last week who says his case is very mild -- no surgery if things stay the same -- thank God!
We just love him. He's giving crazy smiles and jabbers incessantly. Of course, all prayers, especially in regard to his long term health, are greatly appreciated.