I had to go to the mall the other day to finish getting parts of Grace's school uniform. I took the kids with me, of course, and as we entered the mall from the Sears side we approached mechanical rides that require .75 or 1.00 to ride. Maggie ALWAYS asks if she can ride on the rides when we go into the mall...and SOMETIMES she gets to. This day was no different. I told Maggie and Grace that if they were super duper extra good in the mall that they would get to ride something on the way out.
Well, they were particularly good this day...no kidding...and I really should have let them ride 2 or 3 rides for as good as they were, but I told them one and they had to agree on the ride. Well, they had agreed on a ride and at the last minute I saw the Cedar Point roller coaster ride and convinced them that they should ride that one - that it would be more fun. So they both got on to the Cedar Point ride which Grace was more than excited about since she's now totally into roller coasters! Maggie was willing just because it was a ride.
The ride started and immediately Maggie started pointing at another ride that she wanted to do next. I told her to watch the movie screen that she was missing this ride and that she does not get to do another ride. She continued to point to a different ride that she wanted to do next. I told her that there will be no more rides and to have fun on this one. She kept saying "but I want that one next Mom." The entire ride I couldn't convince her to just enjoy this one...all she could think about was getting on another one.
So of course to me this whole incident was an analogy between the life of a 2 year old and life in general. I couldn't help but stand there and think about how often I miss the enjoyment of the "ride" I'm on because I'm constantly thinking about the next thing I want or how much better things would be "if". Here I was trying to convince Maggie to concentrate on where she was at the moment, knowing all along that this is a challenge even for a grown up.
Although ambition is a good thing, it's nothing unless we have a great attitude about present circumstances. No matter where we're going or what we're trying to achieve, if we get there with an attitude of ungratefulness and dissatisfaction then we lose the enjoyment of the ride. And most likely we won't even appreciate our accomplishment either. Attitude is everything.
I felt sorry for Maggie because when she got off that ride I could tell she didn't even feel like she had been on a ride. She missed it. Granted, it's not the ride she had chosen...but that's life too, isn't it? It was still a ride.
Although there are many more things I wish to accomplish in my life, I am so grateful to be home with my children and enjoying my time with them for now. There are days that I want to pull my hair out because I feel like I need a break from it...but those are the days that I find a friend or family member to go somewhere with me and leave the kids with Dan. Dan and I have had times when we can get away too if we find a babysitter. All in all I would not trade these years for anything. When I look back someday I have a feeling that I will not remember the things that bother me now with not having two incomes (such as not being able to give the gifts I'd like to give to friends and family...or not being able to get new clothes on a whim) - but I will remember all the times and moments with my kids. If only I was good at recording those moments! I think for now I'm just going to enjoy the ride I'm on...as opportunities arise I can embrace those, but certainly my mind and heart are fixed on the moment.