Many a parent has heard these words from the back seat whether the road trip was across town or across the nation. "Are we there yet?, are we there yet? are we there yet?" is a question we ask ourselves daily whether the task is getting the family out the door in the morning or we are struggling to get those last things done before bedtime. No matter how much we plan and prepare, the elusive "there" always seems to be just out of view.
Imagine a time before you had children, when you dreamed about someday holding a little bundle in your arms. You may have watched and waited and hoped for that positive pregnancy test, or maybe that baby snuck up on you by surprise. Some of us said, "I can't wait to get pregnant!" Soon we were saying, "I can't wait for this pregnancy to be over." Next it was, "I can't wait to change a diaper", then "I can't wait until he or she is potty trained!" Are we there yet?
Looking into the mysterious road ahead, it is easy to miss what is going on right now. Taking time to stop and smell the fruit loops as you pick up the ones that rolled away from your little one in the high chair seems silly when there are so many other things to be done. Sitting down to have a tea party sounds like something for "someday" when the living room does not look like Toys R Us exploded between the front door and the kitchen.
Yet, these moments of "there" of "being there" are the stuff of life.
One minute we are dropping our children off at kindergarten, and then in a flash, we are waving goodbye as they head off to college and a life away from us. I have learned to ask myself "are we here now?", checking in to see if I am truly present in the time I have with my children. In the age of 24/7 technology in our hands, all to often we see an entire table of people out to eat together and each one of them is buried in their phone.
Connecting in the now is what builds the relationships we will cherish as we all move to the "there" in our future. If all our focus is on getting "there", we totally miss "here". Yes, there are many priorities in a busy household with children. Being truly present to those you love can get tangled up in work and the laundry and
just being plain tired from raising the next generation. Taking time to listen to your child's silly songs, joining them on the floor to build with Legos and letting them splash in the bathtub a little bit longer gets us all to the "there" of building a family based on love and connection.