May 2006: Goldilocks

I’ve been thinking about the children’s story Goldilocks lately.  You remember Goldilocks, don’t you?  She got bored playing in the meadow so she ventured to the bear’s house in the forest.  She tried all of the porridge until she found a bowl that was not too hot or too cold but just right.  Then, she sat in all of the chairs until she found one that was just right.  Then tried out all of the beds until she found one that was just right…


The reason I’ve been thinking about that story is because many people have been telling me lately that Maddison, at eight months now, is in a “Goldilocks” period.  She’s not a fussy infant, but not a mobile toddler; she’s just right.  Ironically, these Goldilocks phases are rare in our lives.  Most of us spend our life either looking forward to what’s ahead or looking back to what we’ve lost, thinking that our current situation isn’t quite right.


Mary and I were talking about this subject with our great friend Emily several weeks ago.  She said something I hope to soon not forget.  She said, “We have to live life today.  If we’re always hoping for better things in the future, or trying to hang on to things in the past, we never give ourselves a chance to enjoy life here and now.”


How true this is!  I’ve found myself looking forward to the days when Mary and I can take Maddison to the zoo, watch her run around in the backyard, and teach her how to wakeboard.  And yet, I’m sure the first time we take her to the zoo she’ll dart off to the monkey cage without us and I’ll reminisce of the days when she cuddled in my arms all day.


We all do it.  You’re either looking forward to having more time for yourself once your kids get older, or you’re looking back to the days when you had a closer relationship with your kids.  Or you’re hoping to retire one day with a full pension, or you’re wishing you could trade your retirement years for the health you once had. 


Goldilocks, as you recall, wasn’t “just right” for long.  The bears came home, chased her out of their home, and she never returned to the forest.  I suggest we all take Emily’s advice.  Don’t wish for your ideal Goldilocks phase because you’ll miss the great things right in front of you.  Cherish and embrace today, because you can’t go back to yesterday and you can’t control tomorrow.

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