What Matters Most

When my granddaughter, Lauren, was ten, she read a story to me about a family with three young children that survived the devastating Joplin, Missouri tornado of 2011. I’m sure that life has never been quite the same for them. The recognition of “what they could have lost” probably still dances through their minds every day. I remember sobbing when I imagined not knowing if my children or grandchildren were safe.

I suppose that, for them, the “little things and moments” became much more valuable. 

We often define life events as “the big moments”: births, graduations, weddings, trips, holidays. They tend to be the times that we plan and spend a lot of energy (and often, significant money) trying to “get it right.” I often hear people say that they invested so much of themselves creating that “amazing thing” that they were so exhausted or worried that they didn’t enjoy it when it finally happened. 

The “moments of the experience” got lost in the planning of it. 

Yesterday was Lauren’s sixteenth birthday. The past six years have flown by—she’s now a junior in high school, contemplating where she’ll go to college, connecting with her Italian exchange student friend, working part-time, being an extraordinary young woman. She’s not a child anymore (actually watered up as I wrote that), but the person she continues to evolve into is beautifully amazing.  

Our perception of time changes the longer we walk on this planet. My grandson, Ethan, acknowledged that too when he said. “time is going so fast.” This awesome young man, now a high-schooler who towers over me, seemed like a child just yesterday.  

When Lauren and Ethan each celebrated their tenth birthdays, we took them to Manhattan for the weekend. On Friday, my daughter, Sara, will be taking Lauren and one of her friends to New York and invited me to go with them. Of course, it will be a very different trip, and I’m honored and blessed to be part of the journey!

I want to hold on to each moment, just like I wanted to with Sara and Erin. I want to freeze-frame each second. I want to memorize each time my child or grandchild reached for my hand or smiled or laughed or was in awe.

I love to hear my grandchildren tell me stories about school, soccer, friends, aspirations, life. I love questions, even the ones I can’t answer (although there are a lot fewer questions now than six years ago). It reminds me of when Sara and Erin were children. Four decades have passed since I became a mother, and those years seem to have flown by in a heartbeat. I remember watching the movie “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” with Sara years ago. It was a beautiful film, but also a bit sad because it was about folks entering the twilight years of their lives, facing the certainty of not much time left.

My intention is always to live into every moment, every experience, every opportunity. But, despite believing and preaching that, there are times I, in my humanness, fail, so the journey continues. 

For all of us, our human time will be gone in a “blink of an eye.” There are no “do-overs” in this particular life. This is it—this moment in which I tell you my stories of love and pain, hope and failure, faith and falling, and laughter, and peace and joy.

As I write this, I think about how fragile, and fleeting life is. I think about holding my daughters’ and grandchildren’s tiny hands in mine as we walked down streets and through experiences and years that have gone much too fast. These are the moments that I hope stay etched in my mind forever.

I am so grateful.
I am so blessed to walk this life.
Thank You, God, for all I have. 
Thank You for the family and friends I love so much. 
Thank You for the opportunity to experience life.
Thank You for the tears that spill down my cheeks as I write this because my heart is so overflowing

Making time for what matters most; that’s really all we have, isn’t it?


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Caution: this content may make you think differently about life!
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