There is something about staring into the eyes of a little one. Those deep pools of wide-eyed contemplation…able to stare right back with unabashed curiosity. It is a silent mutual acknowledgment between two bits of humanity… knowing that we will somehow change each other’s life in some measurable way.
There is something about receiving a smile from the lips of a little one. The grin that grows from their toes and makes one feel hope, optimism, and excitement for the future. How could life not be so is whispered in my ear from somewhere in my heart.
There is something about seeing your child within the spirit of a little one. That child that you cradled so many years ago during the midnight hours while others slept. That child who came to you with boo boos to be kissed, hands to be held, and homework to be discussed. That child who you watched grow before your eyes into an adult…and now looking back with those deep pools, I am reminded that this is the past, present and future before me… This is love.
Every day life greets me with change. Some days I welcome the newness of the day…other times I cling to that which we have long known and understood…and loved. When someone who has been part of my life since birth and who has shared in the many family milestones along the way passes…well it immediately tugs at my heart and soul in longing for the familiar ways of yesterday. The many gatherings of laughter shared, jokes told around the table, and basically the life journey shared not only by genetic code but by the sharing of tears, joy and family love.
And so I whisper in the silence that I will miss the past and the people tangled up in my memories. While I believe that life is truly never-ending and this is just but one stop on the fantastic journey… I will always miss those who make their way before me. I will miss you Uncle…older brother to my mother. You have moved on to once again connect with those who have gone before you… I can only imagine the reunion to be full of wit and peppered with jokes and sweet sarcasm – and I smile.
As I get ready for another day, I remind myself of that which I continuously take for granted. I look around me in wonder of all that is and I feel a knowingness that words do not explain. And then once again I remind myself…
The beauty of our present is captured in the fragility of life – not knowing what tomorrow will be yet remembering what yesterday was…
Did you hear it go? The briefest of moments has past – now mingled in with yesterday. It slipped beyond possibility and hope and lies within memories and undone business. I never hear it leave yet I know when it is missed. Like the sunset, when I briefly turn away…gone.
So once again I will reach ahead and plan to grab some moments before me, pull them closer and not waste them by looking away. In order to “catch the moment” I must embrace it with hope, desire and a willingness to see it through, even if it is not to my original intent or liking. I remind myself that moments are like clay, they can be softened and molded and created. The artistry is in the inspiration. The inspiration is in the knowledge. The knowledge is in the soul. The masterpiece is made when I let my soul create and not my ego. It is then that I can step back and enjoy the moment and call it mine.
It is hard and takes ongoing practice to live in the present. Negativity and pessimism tend to weigh down and drag out my thoughts. I have come to liken them to unwelcome visitors, I try to move them along without much ado. There are those days that they repeatedly knock at my door.
So as I sit here and tap away…so do the moments before me. Yet these writing moments tend to float and drift rather than briskly rush into the past. They linger with just a hint of possibility. They give me reassurance that tomorrow is just a moment away…filled with unending opportunities to open my present to myself. Now I ask you, do you have a moment to spare?
It is quiet now. Yesterday is finding its special place in my heart of memories. Tomorrow yet to be. As I sit here and reflect, life settles back into a semblance of unwanted order. I yearn for just one more hour of the rush and flurry of activity even though my body declares exhaustion. I wish for the continued gathering of friends and family yet they dutifully now find their way back to their homes. Always difficult for me…these winding down quiet times.
I believe it is the unknown path of tomorrow that plants the seed of anxiety within. Watered by tears and emotions of sweet nostalgic essence, I discover it is up to me whether I tend the growth of this weed or deny its existence. I fight the battle and tell myself tomorrow will be full of many yesterdays to look forward to and I will myself to find my way there.
I have always felt this twisting of the stomach and ache of the heart after wonderful events in my life are complete. Silly I know….while many find relief and sense of completion, I find a bit of grief and lingering malaise. Hmmm…. Here we go again. As so many times before, I will find this disappear in time as I move along in life and accept that life moves along whether I want it to or not. So I grudgingly shuffle my feet off to bed and reflect upon all the amazing and wonderful new memories that have been made, secretly and silently hoping for many more.
It becomes part of our being, hugging us like skin. Not something that you can slip off at night and toss on the floor with the clothing of the day. No, attitude is much deeper and harder to change. Attitude begins to grow within us as babies when we are introduced to the world around us. We learn to love, we learn to hate, we learn to discern as bad and good. Yet somewhere along the journey of life, some of us may find ourselves consumed with the negative…like straining to see in the dark of the night…only making out the bad things around us.
Many times a parent declares, “I don’t like your attitude” or “you need to change your attitude” without understanding how difficult this process of change can be… We are asking one to quickly morph into another… or face our consequences. Yet we as parents have helped define their attitudes. Combine that with the world we currently live in…wow it is a ticking time bomb. Take a moment and consider that children are living in a very complex world today. You and I may have walked a mile to school (I confess I did not) but we never dealt with the intensity and gravity of cyber bullying. We may have had to eat what was on our plate or go hungry ( I hated roast beef) yet we never felt the aggression and severe emotional pressure many kids of today experience. Today for fun, our children occupy their time with a never-ending visual stimulation of violence through our media and high def gaming videos. They kill with a deft handling the game a skill once acquired by playing jacks or marbles. They watch live social media capturing death, destruction, mayhem and violence. Some kids have had siblings, friends, parents die on the streets. Today doomsday preppers are glamorized on tv as they are proudly hording guns and ammunition…life and death, killing and survival concepts discussed as matter of fact like cooking shows and recipes. It has become a harsh world. Attitudes become armor to protect from that which is so difficult to deal with in life. And we are partially responsible as parents. As adults we become blind to the attitudes we carry as we strive to make the dollar, pay the bills and seek our own escape from the craziness. But we all travel with deep feelings and beliefs that keep us separated from each other. And we teach our children to do the same. Attitudes, they are so hard to change…
So what happens to tomorrow if there is not a positive shift in attitude? What happens if the adults do not begin to see that their bigotry, intolerance and closed minds are imprinted upon their children? I do not want to go there. Attitude…while deeply ingrained does carry ability to change. We see an epiphany realized by the family who adamantly declares strong anti-gay attitudes…until a loved one comes out. We see the ability to empathize during a natural catastrophe…as strangers extend a hand or even risk their life for another. Why is it only then that we are willing to see beyond the dark…why is it only then that we feel we are all a part of a larger whole? Those beautiful moments when a connection of respect for life of another is made with no thought of what is to be gained in return- action without attitude.
I often wonder why we wait until desperate times to rise above our attitudes. Why do we join the cause only after we feel personally affected by the war. Cancer, poverty, unemployment, inequality, gun violence, bullying, racism, sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction…on and on they march in front of us. Our attitudes block us from the fight unless life has chosen to throw us through the ropes. Only then do many of us awaken and see that the fight is worthy. We take up our sword and add cause to our existence. But I ask, why wait?
I watched her run, hair flying in the wind… barrettes clinging to but a strand of blonde hair. I knew then that there would come a day. I stood with her as she gritted her teeth and refused to cry as injections became part of her life so early on. I knew then that there would come a day. I smiled as she danced in new dresses, twirling around in pure delight in the store dressing rooms. Oh there would come a day, I told myself under my breath. A time when she was no longer mine. I knew I never owned her but I had her time, her attention, her hand and her heart. That sweet little hand that squeezed mine tightly with pure love. We spent many carefree moments, her on my hip as we swooned to music in the midst of the morning. Yet I knew there would come a day.
I watched her so tenderly care for her baby doll. I recall the day she painfully decided she was too old to play with her beloved babies any longer. I knew there would come a day. I swore she could come to me with anything, I promised my heart and her. I would listen, I would provide my advice if she asked…I would not judge. We shared butterfly kisses and declared our love to be greater than the universe. I knew there would come a day.
I watched her gain self-confidence, determination and guts that I never had possessed. I saw this little girl become a teenager filled with such empathy and inner beauty that I was mystified she was mine. Oh but I knew there would come a day. Years of schooling, hours upon hours of hard work and many emails of papers sent for my review. I admit that some of them I hardly understood the concepts. I was impressed and in awe. Who was this young woman and where had my baby gone? No more barrettes haphazardly dangling. No butterfly kisses and no books to be read. I knew there would come a day.
I tell you as I write this, I can not fight the tears. I welcome them as much as the memories I so dearly hold. They are tears of life…living…loving. A new chapter is soon coming. But not so long ago, we had one more of those delightful dressing room days, just her and I. She was twirling again- this time in a long white dress…her face all aglow…and I watched her, my little girl….and I knew…there would come a day.
It is quiet now and the click of my keyboard the only voice in this darkened room. Another weekend winding down in silence. New precious moments with my family being filed as memories like many before them. Life is like that as it bursts full like a flower in bloom only to close in repose when the laughter and sharing is gone. In this current stillness I feel age in my soul as I reflect upon the many changes in my life. So much has happened…so much time has passed. At this moment I yearn to maintain the feeling of connection with those I have so much history with- whether apart by many miles or many responsibilities. But aloneness sits here beside me as my companion.
I find myself sometimes deep in aloneness. Whether I enjoy the solitude of my inner soul depends upon where I choose to land my thoughts. There is a certain fear that may rise with being alone. When there is no distraction to drown out the insecurities and doubt that have held their own deep inside. Heavy with issues of melancholy and disconnection that can crowd within and remind me of my singularity in a world of masses. Alone can be a hard place to be.
Yet I know that being alone can also provide a beautiful rejuvenation of the spirit. A time to relax and reflect. The inner voice at peace with life and unnerved by imperfection. A reconnection within myself that reminds me of the strength of my soul in a crazy world. Alone can be a renewal of spirit. A time to converse with the universe. A time for the flower to fully bloom.
So where do I choose to drift on this dark night. Where shall I dare a journey. I believe I will smell the flower of nostalgia for a while. Oh but to remember yesterdays with games of rummy, chess and tripoly – and bantering with my brother. I choose to feel my childhood home surrounding me in the comfort of my family. Naïve in thinking life would always be so simple and sweet. Alas…a time when I do not truly know how painful it is to lose a loved one. And in this I know that I am not alone.