The walk then and now

I was walking with Will in our neighborhood. We thought we saw a cat a few houses down and definitely heard one. I wouldn’t have thought too much about it, but we we live in a tight little neighborhood with 20 houses and it is unusual for a stray pet to be wandering.

I noticed Will was kind of crouching down as he walked and walking very light footed unlike the usual stomps he normally is known for throughout the house. I realized he was trying to be quiet for the cat. He was sneaking up to it as to not scare it.

It brought me back to a time somewhere around 2011, when I had 5 little children 11 and under and we were taking a walk through our then neighborhood. The kids spotted some kind of fuzzy worm inching across the street. It was important to the kids to watch it go across.

It was hard to compare the 2 instances because having 5 kids all under 12, I tended to be in survival mode most times. I did notice a crisis, fights, a wandering child, but an individual doing something silly to not scare a cat or a worm may have been missed.

It made me sad. Sad to have missed the little things along the way. Sad to not have captured all the moments, or at least most of them. A casualty of a large family, where collective memories are sacred and many; but the blur of raising children, is well, blurry.

Some things I know I will be paying attention to for the next 12 years of raising kids and some things I won’t be caring about:

I will care about:

The scary dreams

The funny walks

The hurt in their eyes

The things that make them laugh

The people that make them scared

The questions that never end

I won’t be caring about:

The opinions of others

Every complaint

The labels others stick them with

The differences of opinions on most things

Every score, grade, time

The appearance of the situation instead of the actual situation

I used to tell them that it is all going to be okay in the end. I have stopped saying that because sometimes it’s not okay for a while or even a long while and who wants to think of the end, and the end of what? So now, my one and only mantra to my husband and to my children and to myself is that “I love you, no matter what and always” and we will get through whatever it is, the hurt, the pain, the loss, the disappointment or the joy, the win and the excitement…

…together.

We didn’t find the cat. It had already left by the time we got to where we thought we saw it. I hope it’s okay.