By Kayleigh Rahn
We were at the party store when I nearly lost it.
In the middle of an excessive heat warning, I was carting my toddler across the county to pick up the last minute items for my husband’s 30th surprise party planned for that afternoon.
I was forced to push the party back a few hours after William volunteered to work on a Saturday. I’m usually proud of his work ethic, but this day I had a hard time disguising my disappointment. However, after a few phone calls I had the details straightened out and the party was still a go.
Nora and I were picking up the balloons. We’d finally made it to our final stop, albeit 45 minutes behind schedule. We’d made a few previous stops that were just long enough for the GMC to reach the approximate temperature of the sun.
I was stressed, and Nora was hungry. I was shuffling through my wallet hunting for cash to pay for the balloons when a quick toddler hand grabbed the plastic candy organizer on the edge of the counter and pulled it, and its full contents, onto the floor.
Nora stared blankly back at me, giving me a look I’d seen from her father a time or two. I dove down to begin the cleanup as a line began to form behind me. The cashier was unimpressed with my apologies and was still waiting for me to fork over the cash before I could snag the oversized bag of inflated balloons and head to my SUV while balancing a 30-pound kid on my hip.
Whose idea was this any way? Well, I guess mine. And I think that’s why I felt so bad delegating tasks when friends and family asked to help.
So I trudged on. We were loading up into the stifling car as Nora started to sweat and scream before I cranked the AC again and made for home to get cleaned up.
After another mad dash around town for work, we met at my parents’ house to load the vehicles and head to the party location where I scurried through the partygoers without giving a hug. I hastily dropped off the food and decorations before heading to pick up William for the party only 15 minutes late.
I was worn down before the party even started; however, miraculously, it was a success.
William was surprised, we shared a ton of laughs, and the heat didn’t melt the cake.
About two-dozen friends and family gave love to William on his 30th. It was a fabulous way to celebrate my favorite person.
But I was tired; I was ready to prop up my feet in silence. Chaos had transpired continuously throughout the day, and I was ready to share the details with William over popcorn and a movie on the couch.
And in that moment, when I was ready to trade in my party hostess job title, I thought of a wonderful lady who I interviewed the day before her 103rd birthday. She was still full of inquisitiveness and spunk at the sunset of a life well loved.
I asked what her favorite season of life had been to that point. She told me it was her younger years. She said she loved life more than ever at the brief moment when she and her husband were young, her parents were young, her kids were young, and her friends were young. She told me those brief years when you are too busy loving those who fill your life, those moments are the “good old days”, and you’ll never notice how special they are until they are gone.
And that’s where we are.
Every weekend is jam packed with family dinners and friends’ BBQs and work and chores and bedtime routines. The weeks fly, and, before you realize it, the year is half gone, back-to-school sales have taken over, and summer plans have been put on notice.
And we complain. We complain about how we run from this to that and how quickly times flies past us.
But this is it. This is life.
And the alternative… well… you know.
William was having a difficult time grasping the idea of turning 30. So I asked what more did he think he’d have at 30. He had no answer. We are right where we always hoped we’d be, and life is good.
One day we’ll have a summer weekend to our selves. One day the work will slow and so will our steps. Our friends will move away and move on. That’s when we’ll be left with the house and time.
I’m certain we’ll gladly welcome the slower pace, but in the meantime I’m going to make a better effort to soak in the craziness and take note of the moments before we really lose it.