Do you remember the book, “If you give a mouse a cookie...”? You know, the one where he goes on to need milk, and a straw, then more, and more, and more?
I feel very much like the mouse on this journey. Yes I feel like the mouse.
Sounds kinda silly right?! But here's why...
I often here parents say (and I too have said this before) “I wish I could slow down time.” It’s a way of saying that we feel that our children are growing up too fast. It’s funny when I think about that phrase now, and where we are in our life.
I kind of feel like for us, it’s a little backwards. While we certainly cherish the moments and milestones, and know we’ll look back someday and think how fast everything went, I often think about wanting things to move along a little faster so we can see what’s next! Crazy right?!
I still remember the first time the nonverbal version of you took my hand and showed me that you wanted a sippy cup of milk. You were guiding me in your world, communicating in a way I wasn't accustom to, but communicating nevertheless. The excitement was overwhelming and indescribable. It was like I had just won the lotto, and very much left me wanting more.
You're a big 2nd grader now. You go to school 5 days a week, can find your classroom all on your own, have reading, writing, and math homework even! You're doing an amazing job, but I find myself wanting more. I still long for the “How was your day at school?” conversation, where you’ll tell me who snorted milk out of their nose from laughing to hard at lunch. Heck I’d even take “It was fine.”
We’ll get there one day. More will come.
The past few weeks you have been more present with us. Spending less time alone, and more time not necessarily overly engaged, but “with us.”
These moments have spoiled me for once again wanting more.
As you sit on a stool in the kitchen watching me cook I want to hear your input on what to buy your big brother for his birthday? Where you would like to go on vacation? What we should or shouldn't eat for dinner?! Of course these things aren’t said. I know I should be content to have you choose to sit by me, but I want more.
You were spending time with us, not screaming or crying just observing and being present. It's no secret we’ve had our fair share of troubling months, and now that we finally have a sense of calm (other than you finding any and everything you can to climb on) it’s funny, but I want more.
You gave me this delicious cookie of a moment, but now all I could think of was that I wanted some milk. I mean the cookie is good, but I want more.
Why do I want the milk so badly? Why can't I shake this feeling of wanting more and more and more? This is starting to bring on some serious mom guilt for me. No joke!
Some say I should appreciate the small triumphs and moments in life, and I do. I really do, but... I want more.
I still get misty eyed everytime I think back to your 5yr old self drinking from a cup for the first time ever at the Mason Jar Tavern.
That was almost 3 years ago, and I still can feel every emotion of that moment!
Am I just being greedy to want more from and for you?
I recently learned that there's a reason for feeling all this way, and it's not greed (phew!), but a form of happiness.
A professor from Cornell University named Thomas Gilovich has done numerous studies on what brings us the most meaningful happiness.
His conclusion? Happiness is derived from experiences, not things.
You might think, what does that mean?
A lot of things bring us happiness, but it's the experiences that give us the most lasting, and meaningful kind.
For example...mommy and daddy may be really excited to buy a new dining room table. We’ll save up for months and finally purchase the perfect one. We’ll show it off to who ever comes over, and feel happiness from our purchase.
Time goes on, and inevitably the excitement wears off. We remember less about how we felt looking for, saving up, and purchasing the table, but more about the experiences that we’ve shared around it.
The feeling of happiness we had when we purchased the table ended up being temporary, but the experiences that came from having it will stay with us forever. The laughter, the tears, the stories - all that is what we will remember.
It's not only the experience that brings so much happiness, but also the anticipation of the experience - or the ”wanting more” that also is proven to provide great lasting joy.
The ”anticipation” on this journey definitely comes with a healthy dose of patience. If something amazing happens, we build ourselves up for the next great thing, wanting more and more, but that might be weeks, months, or even years from now. We just don’t know. We will find happiness in the wait, because we know that one day the ”more” will come.
So in other words, we’ll gladly keep taking the cookies, but that glass of milk may still be roaming in a pasture somewhere (in a cow!).
So my dear, on a journey that can make us feel a whirlwind of emotions, sometimes daily, it’s these cookies you give us that bring so much happiness, and leave us the lasting joy of wanting more.