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 “20 year plan”. We didn’t take fabulous vacations; actually we really 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, 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). There were kids in the house all the time. We had “a hideout” in the backyard, where hours were spent in nature, in the fresh air. 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 little, 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. We sang silly songs. We danced. We laughed. We lived in the moment.
Now, more than halfway through this life, I get to be a grandparent. I have the distinct 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 put together books of memories and photos and thoughts and reflections and, love. The last book that I made was almost three years ago, but I still remember the emotion of sifting through all those years.
How do we use our time. How do we spend the days of our lives? After sleeping, working, watching TV, cooking, eating, commuting, cleaning, and showering, how do we spend our remaining time? Time is fleeting. We don’t get it back. We don’t get “do-overs.” How do we spend those priceless moments?
How do you spell peace? For many years, for me, 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?