I had the rare opportunity this morning to go on my daily walk with just one of my babies. Normally all three of us head out on a wander around our new neighbourhood around 10am for Piper’s first nap, but Autumn stayed home with sicky-dad today. I got in 3 laps, covering 2.6 miles, and Piper fell asleep during the last lap.
We’ve been here a month now and are really enjoying the quietness of this new place. We don’t see many people on our walks, not many cars come and go, and only a few kids on bikes. Mostly just the smell of tumble dryers, the sound of birds, and a train every so often keep the air from being completely empty. It got me to pondering as I walked our tree lined loop, pushing Piper and thinking about where we were just a month ago – stressed, exhausted, prickly, transitioning.
I remember when we were first married and living in Washington we felt stuck in an in between place – newlyweds without our own network of friends in a similar situation. One day we decided to make 5 banoffee pies and deliver them to some established families that we were acquaintances with, as an attempt to break into a social circle. We delivered our pies and at one doorstep had a quick conversation with the father of the family. He asked us what our plans were, were we going to school – we were. He went on, “those were the best days of our lives.” He told us to really make the most of them. We believed him and we did make the most of them. I think the in between stage, the anticipation of “settling” is a key ingredient in what makes “the best days of our lives.” The stage right before everything gets really serious – serious jobs, serious bills and debts, serious responsibilities, kids! When you know things aren’t going to be that way forever you soak it all up.
Our “best days of our lives” stage went on longer than for most people – with infertility, a change in education/career path, we managed to stretch it out for 7 years. We lived a lot of places, saw a lot of things, experienced more than we expected – or even really wanted.
And now as I walk this route with my baby snoozing and her legs tanning in the sun as they hang out of her stroller chair I see the colourful front doors of these little homes and wonder, “is this your first home?” “Are there children in there?” “Is your husband at school or at work? Does he work shifts or 9 to 5” “Are you talking to your sister on the phone and planning a trip?” Mostly, “Are you happy?”
I’m in a phase where I’m still in between. We have the education (3.5 degrees between us), the job – and the first promotion, we eventually had the kids – 2 fantastic rays of light that we love more than anything, we have the bills and the debts, and the family van but we’re not quite there yet. This place isn’t our own, it’s the tail end of “the best days of lives” before things get really serious, before the kids have to be settled, before they need the comfort of more than just us. Soon they’ll need their own space, a place to put their stuff, their own network and people. And then we’ll be in between some new best days and making the most of them too.
“Being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up.
These are the best days of our lives.
The only thing that matters is just following your heart
and eventually you’ll finally get it right.”
– “In this diary” The Atari’s