When I was pregnant with my son, I decided I would no longer say "I can't wait." After the hundredth person remarked "I bet you can't wait for that baby to be born!" I realized that was not necessarily true. Of course I was excited to have my child out in the world with me, but I also genuinely relished my time before he arrived - feeling a human growing & grooving inside my body, appreciating all of the enhanced sensory experiences that came with hormones in overdrive, enjoying multiple naps every day, looking forward to meeting this person no one else knew yet savoring those final days of simple couplehood with my husband. I felt like if I gave in to the "I can't wait!" mindset, I would be cheating the now out of its potential for specialness, and maybe even exaggerating the specialness of what was coming, making it anticlimatic. That was the beginning of my commitment to mindfulness.
Since then, if I catch myself saying or even thinking "I can't wait until...," I will stop and look around. Sometimes it seems perfectly justified - in the midst of a mammogram or pap smear, for example, or during hot f*cking yoga. But for the most part, I want to keep reminding myself that life is indeed short and we don't get many do-overs. Things can change in the proverbial blink of an eye, or if we're not paying attention to even the most seemingly mundane moments, passing years can start to feel like the blink of an eye.
Obviously I have known that my daughter was starting middle school today, but what I forgot about was the fact that no one would be watching for me to wave at the bus anymore, because instead of it rolling past the house, it picked up on the corner down the street (and also because, GAH, MOM, we're in MIDDLE SCHOOL). Since my son started kindergarten and through my daughter's 5th grade year, I have had the privilege of being home most mornings when the elementary bus came by; I always waved from the porch, the front door, or my bedroom window (depending on my state of readiness for the day) but every time I had a kid or two peering out of a sweaty window, waving back. This morning I drove by their bus stop, ready to not make a spectacle and embarrass my preteens with a sappy mom display but secretly hoping there might be some tiny acknowledgement.
Both of my big kids waved from the midst of a gangly crowd and yelled "BYE MOM!"
I did not blink.