I remember when I used to drive the girls to daycare, or school, as we had to call it around A. “H. goes to daycare, I go to school.” with a puff of the chest, and on that daily morning drive we would listen to the song “Sadie” by Joanna Newsom. You are either cringing or smiling if you know who she is, and if you don’t, you’ll either love or hate her. Most days I’d sing along, and when A. started learning the words, she’d join in, she always giggled at the word “mercy” – not sure why, but she did.
It was on one of these drives that I remember looking at H. in the mirror, as she faced the rear, drooling, hitting herself in the face, and pulling off her socks, and I daydreamed about the days when they would have their own conversations in the back seat. You know, pointing out roadside attractions, discussing architecture, and otherwise soaking up and sharing the world as it passed through their windows. I remember thinking, and this proves how much of a romantic I can be, or how delusional I am, that I wouldn’t care what they were talking about, that even if they were arguing I could tolerate it, I would even embrace it. I would revel in their warrior screams and cries about which fairy was on the screen, sigh with delight when a shoe flew across the car, and squeal with glee when red-faced screaming turned into puke all over a car seat. I would be happy because they were there, and anything they were doing would be okay.
Why do we have these thoughts? It is fresh in my mind. I can mentally put myself back in the car and remember the warm buzz that filled me as I thought these ridiculously insane thoughts about the future. Was I so grateful that our kids were healthy and thriving that I would put up with anything else that came along, yes, I thought that I could handle anything that the future held, as long as it came from them, but those noises that come from the backseat, the ones that now make me dream of ejector buttons, the ones that make me think really bad thoughts, and don’t get me wrong there are plenty of times when cuteness pours through the car and emits rainbows out the windshield, but my goodness what was I thinking, and more importantly why do I continue to think this way about the future?
Because, to perseverate about the harsh realities that the future holds takes away its value. Why would I have spent my time looking in the rearview mirror in a daymare about how awful some days with the kids are going to be? We know they exist. We want to project positive thoughts about the future, because if it’s really horrible, at least we had a dream about its potential. I also think that we create our future realities based off of our present thoughts – positive and negative.
My Papa Sense tells me: I will continue to pleasantly dream about our kid’s future friends, graduations, proms, and all that is in between – knowing that there will be a lot of screaming, puking, and throwing of objects that will come along with it. Even in my most angry fits of rage brought on by backseat whines, well, probably after I come down, I am thankful that the sound is there, and think about the future – when they’ll be wearing their headphones. The future will make more noise than the present and hopefully drowned out the echo of the past. I just like the way that sounds.