Tonight, when I finally got home after another 12 hour day, I could tell I wasn't the only one in need of a break.
Being gone all the time is hard on Hubster, the boys, and myself.
So we rented a movie, ordered pizza, and snuggled up under a pile of blankets on the couch.
We watched Where the Wild Things Are.
I'm not going to review the movie, or discuss the cinematography or how well I feel the story line was adapted from the book.
But after tucking my children, smelling of garlic and sleepiness, in bed, my eyes still misty from the movie, I feel like I should at least talk about it. Not about the movie itself, but about things it made me think about.
It's not a kid movie. It doesn't do anything to explain itself. But even so, my children picked up on the themes like they were child psychologists.
Which, suddenly I realized, they are.
Despite the fact that we were once all children, we as adults still patronize them. We think of them as irrational, not understanding. We look at their lives and are envious of the simplicity, the lack of responsibility, the abundance of time and the scarcity of stress.
But watching Max interact with his larger than life personality traits, I remembered just a little bit about what it was like to be little.
Maybe, when you're 5, or 10, or even 15, you don't understand all the details. Life is complex and we balance pros and cons of decisions that children may not understand.
But the impact on children isn't less just because they don't understand the reasoning. The emotions they feel aren't less real or powerful just because we don't understand why they are feeling that way.
As children, we experience a vast spectrum of emotions. Wildly crazy happy to heart wrenchingly sad. As we age, we start to limit ourselves to an ever smaller range on the spectrum of emotions. And sometimes, we limit ourselves so much, we forget that we used to experience so much more.
I vividly remember being so excited for something I couldn't sleep. I remember being so sad I thought I would fold up into myself and disappear. I've been so scared that I physically hurt. And I've been so angry that I was sure I could never love that person again.
We like to think that our children are carefree and happy. And hopefully, for the most part, they are. But I doubt there are many of us who look at our childhood and only have memories of lazy summers and simple routines.
I look at my own children and realize that is not the case.
I see Bug struggle every day to fit in at his new school. I ask him about his day at the dinner table and I can tell he is lonely. I know he has so much he wants to talk about, but so many times I've given him the excuse that I'm too busy or too tired or things are just too loud right now. I've watched him at the pool with other children and him desperately trying to hide the fact that he can't swim. I've seen him angry with his little brother. And that's only the parts he lets me see.
I think we forget that even children are carrying their own loads.
As I carry my nodding tow-head to bed, I pray I can carry not just him, but a little of the load, so that maybe he will look back and remember the evening together and not so much the lonely day before it.