Jim and I flew back to New York a few days ago. Certainly not for the weather –it’s hot and humid even with a breeze in Hudson River Park. No, we’re back to see our kids. Both are working in the city this summer, and we had left them “adulting” for two weeks while we enjoyed July fourth and lovely summer weather in Colorado. This was the longest we’d ever left them to fend for themselves, so it was time to check on them, and the apartment!
I think it was the fact that we left town versus their heading elsewhere that made me realize how quickly we have reverted to pre-college family life together since they finished their freshman year. And it’s not so much family life from the aspect of parenting (we aren’t asking what time they get in at night); it’s more around the idea that we live, and therefore spend time, together. We’ve come back from a mode of quick catch up via text or phone or Zoom to the slower pace of sharing dinner at the same table, watching movies and sporting events, playing games, doing the crossword, and even just discussing (and debating) topics unrelated to school.
I think we have fallen so easily back into life together because we like each other. Don’t misinterpret me: we still spar about room cleanliness, sleep habits and leaving shoes in all locations. But what a wonderful feeling: I just love that everyone in our family enjoys one another. In total frankness, I think I value that we like each other even more than I cherish that we love one another – like isn’t something you can take for granted with your kids.
I started writing today thinking I would discuss the little things that make us happy every day and contrasting that with the experiences that give us real highs. I’ve been noticing the sense of gladness I get from small things like whether my soy milk foams for coffee or how much I enjoy a good podcast where I learn something. And I’ve also felt some real highs lately: I completed a great novel; I’ve run two mornings with a view of the Statue of Liberty, and I’m currently writing a blog entry that I hope and believe will speak to my readers. The biggest high though has been feeling appreciated and needed by my kids and my husband, whether that be for on-the-job advice or how to sauté spinach.
I have to believe that I’m noting so many of the happy moments and highs right now because we are back in our family flow. I always feel appreciated by Jim, and I do feel needed when the kids are at school, but it’s so much more present and impactful when we are physically together. It’s good that we came back to check on our kids – they were definitely ready for less adulting (I’m not sure what they were eating), and I was also ready to be a family in all of the little ways that make me feel good about our life together.