When my granddaughter, Lauren, was in middle school, she read me a story about a family that lived through a devastating Joplin, Missouri tornado. Their home was completely destroyed, but they survived the deadliest tornado our country had seen in sixty years. I imagine their life has never been the same; the recognition of “what could have been lost” is probably still with them, and the “little things” likely became the most important things.
Marker moments: weddings, graduations, trips, celebrations, and holidays tend to be days or events that we plan and spend a lot of energy trying to “get right.” I’ve frequently heard people say that they invested so much time and money planning and accomplishing that when they finally got there, they were too exhausted to enjoy it. The “moments of the experience” were lost in its planning.
It’s easy to forget to live in the moment. Spending time together talking, exploring, learning, and laughing creates memories that build a life of love filled with what matters. (Often, we miss life’s joy because of the possessions that keep us busy.)
Larry and I took Lauren to Manhattan seven years ago to celebrate her tenth birthday. We did the same thing when Ethan turned ten. It was a plan I’d had for years, and those pre-teen moments passed much too quickly.
Right now, I want to make time for those I love to hold on to each moment with my grandchildren as I did with my daughters, trying to freeze-frame each second, memorize each time they reached for my hand or smiled or laughed with me. Right now is all that’s guaranteed.
I love when my grandchildren tell me about school, soccer, friends, and life or ask questions, although those are rare now. It reminds me of when Sara and Erin were little. Over four decades have passed since becoming a mother; time has flown by in a heartbeat.
Years ago, Sara and I watched “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” It was beautiful and heartbreaking because it was about folks entering their twilight years, facing the certainty of not much time left. I’m ever conscious of the running out of the clock.
This moment is all that is guaranteed—this space in which I write my stories of love and loss, faith and failing, laughter, peace, and joy. For all of us, time will be gone in a blink of an eye. There are no “do-overs.”
Writing this—and conscious of the hopelessness, sorrow, and hatred that pervades much of our planet—I know how blessed I’ve been to have had those experiences with my beloved daughters and grandchildren. I think about how fragile, and fleeting life is. I remember holding Lauren’s and Ethan’s tiny hands in mine as we walked down the street. These are the moments that I hope stay etched in my mind forever.
I am grateful. I am blessed.
Thank You, God, for all I have, the family and friends I so deeply love, the chance to experience life, and the tears that spill down my cheeks as I write this because my heart is overflowing.
Making time for what matters most. That’s really all we have, isn’t it?