What usually seems like just yesterday (but sometimes feels like so long ago), I was a young, single mother raising two beautiful daughters. We were—by the standards we in North America judge wealth—poor. I didn’t make a lot of money. I was putting myself through college at night—I often joke I was on the “twenty-year plan”. We didn’t take fabulous vacations; actually, we didn’t take vacations. We lived in a little cape cod. We rarely went “out” for dinner; we ate a fair amount of pasta because it was inexpensive (and a lot of fish sticks and grilled cheese sandwiches, if you’d ask my girls). We didn’t buy a lot of clothing or expensive toys.
You know what we did have? We had us. We had love; lots of love. The girls and I did homework together at the kitchen counter. The house was often filled with the joy of more than just the voices of my two precious girls. They hosted sleepovers for their friends (lots of sleepovers), and there were kids in the house all the time. We had “a hideout” in the backyard, where hours were spent in nature. We had Christmas Eve “concerts” and a Birthday Cake for Baby Jesus every year.
We sat out on our little deck—the one not far from our small, above-ground pool. We had my parents—who were thrilled to be grandparents— actively involved in our lives. We did projects together. We had parties in the back yard, sang silly songs, and danced. We laughed. We lived in the moment. We actively loved life.
Of course, there were challenges. Of course, as they got older, we didn’t always see eye-to-eye. Of course, we were human.
Now, more than halfway through this life, I get to be a grandparent and have the honor of watching my grown daughters live their adult lives. Sara and Erin are both accomplished, loving, generous, intelligent women. As the saying goes, “they would make any mother proud.”
When each of my girls turned 30, I made “The First Thirty Years of Your Life” scrapbooks for them. I went through my “save box” and pieced together books of memories and photos and thoughts and reflections and love. I still remember the emotion of sifting through all those years.
How do we use our time? After sleeping, working, cooking, eating, commuting, and cleaning, how do we spend our remaining time? Time is fleeting. We don’t get it back. We don’t get “do-overs.” So, how do we spend those priceless moments?
How do you spell peace? For many of my years, it was a small cape cod with three little bedrooms, a wooded back yard, a Mom and two daughters, and an adventure of love. How blessed is that?