PHOTO CREDIT: PINTEREST SITE
It happened at IHOP the other day. I hadn’t had my morning cup of coffee yet. And I needed one. Like ALWAYS, I had a zillion things on my mind I was hoping to accomplish, knowing about 92% of them would actually be completed around the twelfth of never.
So I’m sitting there with my clever, sweet 8 year old son and our neighbor’s daughter, a smart, loveable 9 year old girl. They’ve been bus buddies for four years.
However, this Monday, we decided to change it up, trick the bus driver, play hooky from our stop and just have some pancakes. Or chicken and waffles, if you want to be precise. OK, that’s what she ordered. My son ordered the super-soaked chocolate chip pancake slathered in HFCS-laden pancake syrup, complete with a big whip cream smiley face and red-dyed maraschino cherry nose.
I was half listening to their simultaneous conversations happening, as I was mentally strategizing how I was going to get thru another impossible day.
It’s not that life is actually impossible. It just seems like it is. Our endless tasks, jobs, home and family responsibilities, volunteer commitments, bills, appointments, projects, and people to communicate with via email, texts, Facebook, Skype, blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, and heck, even telepathically if you’re as busy as I am tend to make our brain tired. To the point, it’s sometimes hard to actually concentrate on what our children are saying.
Suddenly, I miraculously decided to turn down the volume on my own mental noise. I decided to PAY ATTENTION to what these two precious children, who are strangely almost preteens, were saying. It seems like they were waddling around in diapers only a few weeks ago, yet here they were– lips moving, full of words, thoughts, ideas, and chock full of randomness!
Both were talking at the same time. My son was saying something about Macon Bacon and Eggy Peggy. They were characters on a paper search-and-find placemat. Our friend-like-a-daughter was saying how when she grows up, she wants to marry a Japan man, have two kids, and 3 cats. She was going to name them Messiah, Shiloh, and Little Tokyo.
Both children continued to talk at the same time about these most random thoughts that had instantaneously occurred to them. Neither topic was related to the other. Neither seemed to care that I had but one set of ears, exactly one to hear half of what each mouth was saying, until the waitress came, asked us what we wanted, and harshed that mellow!
I had no clue what I wanted to eat. I was simultaneously visualizing a grown woman in Japan with two kids and three cats in the yard while my son was running around saying “Where is Eggy Peggy?!?!”
“He’s with the Japan Man!”
“Huh?” said the waitress. Oh. My overloaded brain.
“One coffee straight up please!”
And then it hit me. THIS IS WHAT CHILDHOOD IS ALL ABOUT!
Finding Eggy Peggy and Macon Bacon and living in the now. Dreaming of a perfect future; nothing wrong with dreaming that a Japanese husband just may be the ideal guy, as long as he likes felines. Randomness as opposed to every second of our day micromanaged to obey multiple agendas simultaneously.
I don’t think either one was all stressed out about how they were going to get through the day. I know neither one cared how much the food cost as a ratio in proportion to GDP of the family’s earned income like we adults stress over. They were unaware if bills were caught up at home, and I seriously doubt they were thinking about what will they be when they grow up.
Suddenly, I found myself just wanting to inhale this exuberance of youth. The infinite time that still seemed to lay before them. The lack of hard core responsibilities and tough decisions.
Right now, deciding what to order was all that mattered. I got out my phone. We watched YouTube videos of Okinawa. For a quick three minutes, I was somewhere else if only in my mind:
I’m running down the white sands of an Okinawa beach beside a translucent blue ocean. Three adorable exotic cats are running beside me. I’m in hot pursuit of Eggy Peggy and the Japan Man. And they are running–fast! As fast as they can, chasing two shadows in the wind–shadows of two precious children, growing up faster than all the ones that preceded them as small voices trail behind them, “Run, run, fast as you can. You’ll never catch us!”
Laughing at me and my tired spectacled eyes, and so many true stories under my belt, sadly, I know they are right.