For our son Henry’s seventh birthday, we loaded up the car with his best friends, with snacks and juice boxes, with extra sweatshirts and loads of Batman guys, and we spent a wild, fun, silly afternoon at the Brookfield Zoo.
There was one main attraction for Henry: the dinosaurs.
Brookfield has this amazing exhibition of animatronic dinosaurs—machines that look and sound like dinosaurs, laid out just like any other animal exhibition. It’s amazing. You walk through the bears and the tigers and the kangaroos, and then you walk through the dinosaurs, arching their backs, breathing and growling. It’s pretty great.
Henry had been looking forward to it for ages.
His friends were so excited about it. We went to lots of other sections first, to build anticipation.
When we finally arrived at the dinosaurs, the boys were wriggling with excitement. We handed out their tickets for this special exhibition, and then they sprinted through it. They reached the end in record time, yelping, dragging one another on to the next one, the next one, the next one.
When they got to the end, we were shocked.
“How could you be done already?” we asked. “We could barely keep up with you. Don’t you want to see it again? Or look at each one up close?”
They didn’t. They were too wound up, too excited about the dinosaurs to actually experience the dinosaurs. It’s easy to do when you’re seven.
And it’s easy to do when you’re thirty-seven.
All my life I wanted to be a mom.
I wanted to love and nurture and snuggle little people, to give them baths and laugh with them, to read to them and play with them.
But I find myself blowing past the most important moments with my children all too often, hardly even there, running through the dinosaurs I’ve been longing to experience.
All my life I wanted to fall in love and live a love story with someone who makes me laugh and makes me think and makes me happy.
And instead of making rich memories with my husband, who does all of those things in my life so well, all too often I pick at him about small things or waste our time together by complaining about things of little consequence.
I run through the dinosaurs all the time, and I don’t even realize it till later.
I lay in bed and realize I missed the most important things, the things that really matter to me, because I was caught up in my own head, running circles, having imaginary conversations, forecasting imaginary disasters.
One of my goals these days: stop running through the dinosaurs.
I want to be where I am, and be fully there, instead of missing the things I’ve been looking forward to for so long, caught up in my fears and anxieties.
I don’t want to miss anymore dinosaurs.
What is it in your life that you might be missing, because you’re moving too fast, or because you’re running to the next thing?