It’s 1:00pm and I’ve been up for an hour and working on getting my coffee “on board”… yes it was noon. My hubby actually came in to check and see if I was still breathing….he really did!
I pulled into our driveway last night around 9:30pm. I drove home (3 hours) in total silence. No radio, no audio book, no phone chatting. Just me and Hwy 99…and my thoughts on life…where I’m heading and where I’ve been.
As you all know, my grandson, Logan, was born on 11/3. It was my first child to see born (no, I didn’t do the “mirror” thing during the birth of my 2 children). The emotions I felt of witnessing something so miraculous…I can’t describe them. First, let me tell you that I’m not a crier. Secondly, when Logan cried his first cry, I cried. Witnessing the joy of Tracie and Brandon, the smiles on their faces…it makes me want to cry all over again. Have you ever had a “happy cry”? Do you remember your first “happy cry”? Wasn’t it amazing? I remember my first one… I was 20 years old. My sister and I took my nephew (2 years old at the time) to see the Easter Bunny. We were standing in line and it was almost his turn…I started feeling my throat get tight…what the heck? I remember thinking, “What’s wrong with me?” Oh the joy of a happy cry.
Life is…hmmm not even sure how to describe it… let me try this…Remember when you were 9 and the next birthday you were going to be “double digits” – the big 10? Then you couldn’t wait to be 13? Sixteen was around the corner and you would be able to drive? Next, came 18 and then you could be an adult? Oh, and please hurry up 21 so I can drink legally…. Can’t wait to graduate from college, get a job and get married. Then, we looking forward to having babies, waiting for the day they say their first words, walk, be potty trained….then before you know it, they are adults.
This is where I am now. Our 4 children are adults (the 5th and last will be 18 next month and off to college in September). There will be 4 empty rooms in our house. Where did the time go? How did all of those milestones come and go so quickly? Was I a good mother? A patient mother? A good wife in the mix of it all? Can I have a do-over? What? No do-over’s? Now THAT makes me want to cry. Ha!
Seriously though…I have always told my children, “when you look back (taking tests, school, difficult situations, etc), it’s important to know that you did the best that you could.” Did I do the best I could? Yes, without a doubt, I DID THE BEST THAT I COULD. Was I perfect? No, definitely not.
I knew how to do some of it,
my husband and I prayed together through most of it
and now I know looking back,
that God held my hand through all of it.
So now what? What shall I focus on? Well, 1st, I’m going to date my hubby again and cuddle with him on the couch. I’m going to watch as my children and grandchildren look forward to their milestones and be the best Nana I can be through all of them. I’m going watch my adult children make mistakes (without telling them “I told you so”) because I know this is how God is growing them into the people HE wants them to be (not who I want them to be…imagine that!). I’m going to love on my animals, be a good friend, give back to my community, and travel to a different country once a year. I’m going to focus on my health so I can meet my great-grandchildren and watch them go through some of their milestones. I’m going to make our home warm and inviting so when my children and grandchildren come for a visit, it will feel like home… and I’m going to continue to blog, blog, blog. I’m thinkin’ that sounds like a pretty good life. What do you think? But most of all, I’m going to work on “staying in the moment”. Why? Because life just goes too darn fast when we are constantly looking forward to the next milestone. Want to join me?
Whew! Thanks for being there with me to share my epiphany! 🙂
Be patient with me friends while I get my Halloween decorations down, finish up preparing for a boutique that my BFF and I are having in 2 weeks…and get my ducks back in a row….
Most importantly, thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments, welcoming my grandson into the world, and cheering me on through this interesting part of life as I take on the new identity of “Project Queen”. I couldn’t, nor would I want to do this without all of you. I’m humbled and blessed.
By Robert J. Hastings
TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent. We’re traveling by passenger train, and out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.
But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. There will be bands playing and flags waving. And once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true. So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of our lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damming the minutes for loitering, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
However, sooner or later we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.
When we get to the station that will be it!” we cry. Translated it means, “When I’m 18 that will be it! When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz, that will be it! When I put the last kid through college that will be it! When I have paid off the mortgage that will be it! When I win a promotion that will be it! When I reach the age of retirement that will be it! I shall live happily ever after!”
Unfortunately, once we get “it,” then “it” disappears. The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.
“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.
So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.
(This version of “The Station” made its first debut in Ann Landers’ Column on May 17, 1981.)
“Dear Ann Landers: I wrote a little essay that appeared in the Illinois Baptist and I am sending it to you with permission to share it with your readers if you wish.” Robert J. Hastings, Editor.
“Dear Robert Hastings: It’s a beauty. Thank you for sending it on.” Ann Landers.