My husband and I have a dream. It's not elaborate. It's not unachievable. We dream of living on a yacht in the Mediterranean. It's totally do-able. We both sail. Well, my husband more than me. Though I do remind him frequently that if he ever went overboard I would be able to save him. Goodness, I hope so! Actually, I'm sure he hopes so too. However, this is not a dream we can live now as there is the slight issue of having three dependent teenagers.
Much to their annoyance, this dream of ours is often cited when they are being particularly teenagery (I know, not a word, but it works!). We wistfully play around with the words of what life could be if we weren't having to be responsible adults and actually do this thing called work and parenting. It drives the children insane. It's probably not particularly the right way to parent, to be fair, but some days, the dream of lying on a yacht, sun-drenched and frankly drunk on good quality vitamin sea compares quite favourably to the utter rubbish that bringing up three teens sometimes throws at us. Yet again, probably a tad harsh but I think that all three of mine would admit that on certain days the less than exemplary behaviour of being a teen is hard, even for the most patient and wonderful parents out there.
This dream of ours was verbalised again this morning as we were drinking coffee. But there was a difference. The children are getting older. The reality of us actually living on a yacht in the Mediterranean on our own, the sun on our skin, sparkling waters lapping the edge of the hull, is getting closer and closer. And, suddenly, my heart aches as I imagine a time, now not too far away, where it is just us. And suddenly, I don't want to joke about it anymore. It doesn't seem quite so entertaining to dream. I'll miss them, heartachingly so.
I'll miss the closeness of them, the fact that they're with me. I'll miss the fullness and chaos they bring to my life. I'll miss their laughter, their chats, their ease of company just by being around. I'll miss their rooms being theirs. I'll miss the scent of them. I'll miss their kisses goodnight, their kisses good morning. I'll miss them being small, them being big. I'll miss it all. Every last moment of them being mine.
And that right there is why suddenly it feels wrong to jest, to tease the children that we would rather be on our yacht. I need to live for the now because the reality of that dream is edging too close. And whilst I can't fault the beauty of that time my husband and I will have, it's bittersweet. Its reality signifies the end of raising our children. A time I honestly thought would last forever. It was meant to be limitless, wasn't it? Almost a final step. And whilst we have the most wonderful memories I want the next few years to count even more. I want them to be the best yet because, kids, when that dream we joke about becomes our reality, I'll miss you so damn much, more than you could possibly ever imagine ... just saying.