June 22, 2016
My son-in-law, who we share a home with for five to six months out of the year, is a music hound. He has music playing most of the day. Now, this is not soothing Indian Flute or Celtic Harp music softly playing in the background. This is (for the most part) Get Thee Up and MOVE Your Body music. He likes a lot of country western tunes that tell stories or give advice. Once such tune that he's been playing a lot lately is a little ditty by the name of "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney. This is not a toe tapper.... it is not one you'd grab a partner and swing to. It's one that makes you want to LISTEN to what is being said... and it's a doozy of a message! It's my second favorite of the "if you're smart, you're going to heed what I'm telling you" tunes that I am quickly becoming fond of. We will discuss my all time number one choice another time.. and soon.
A man who is 102 is being interviewed before the song begins. He tells the young fella who is conducting the interview to tell your mama and pop every day that you love em. Especially your mama. Then the old man goes on to say that 100 years goes by faster than you think.... as fast as a blink. It made me think about just how quickly I went from a skinny little 10 year old afraid of everything, to a chunky 74 year old who believes she can take on whatever comes her way and.. well, if not always win... at least survive with a little flair.
I remember when I was 14 just how much I wanted to be a 16 year old who had driving privileges and could date. Then I wanted to be 18 so I could look for an apartment with a friend and be independant. Then I wanted to be 21 so I could vote and feel like a REAL adult. I just kept wanting to be a little bit older than I was. When I was 23, I told everyone I was 25. When I was 25, I told everyone I was 27. When I was 27, I told everyone I was 30. Why? I don't know. Maybe I wanted to be told I looked younger than my age. Who knows? But, what in the heck was the rush? (By the way.... I always DID look younger than my age)
I'll be 75 this November. (Wow! I've lived almost three quarters of a Century.) And you know what? I'm not in a hurry to be older anymore. I'm fine being 74 until I'm actually 75. And I shall remain 75 until November 18 2017, when I really am 76. Odd how that happened when it struck me that old age wasn't something in my future, anymore....it was HERE.
What I've learned along the path to being a "senior citizen" is that life really does go by in a blink. I blinked and I was no longer a high school student. I blinked and I was no longer a happy go lucky young girl in her early 20's, dating and being wooed by a bevy of suitors. I blinked and I was a wife. I blinked and I was the mother of a beautiful baby boy...blink...two baby boys. Blink... and a tiny, perfect, pink little girl, ...Blink...a fourth baby was born. I didn't mean to, but I blinked again, and these four adorable toddlers were driving, dating, graduating from high school... moving away from home. Blink... a couple of them went to college. Blink... a couple of them married and had children of their own. Blink... I am a grandmother.
I lie in bed in the still of the night and remember so many years that were filled with the making of memories. Winters sitting on the heater under a blanket laughing, sharing stories, planning vacations. (too many of them that were never taken) There were some long nights waiting in the living room for a child to come home from a date, a school or church activity. Mornings that we ate sleepy breakfasts of french toast, scrambled eggs, face pancakes, or Cream of Wheat. Long walks were taken together in the orchard. Camping trips were taken with cousins. Easter baskets were found at the end of yards and yards of string woven throughout the house. Christmas was...well... Christmas was fantasy come to life.... always with a tree that took up half of the living room, and presents that spilled onto the other half. Christmas breakfast was face pancakes with a red hat made of ham and whipped cream for fur and a beard.
We can't stop blinking... But, when we aren't, when our eyes are wide open, we can pay attention. We can look deeply. We can concentrate, focus. We can really see .... and record, what's going on in our lives so that the memories will stay a little clearer, a little longer.
We don't camp with extended family any more.... maybe a trip every other year or so. We don't sit on the heater and share giggles and hopes. Breakfasts are rarely eaten together, and when we do, they're generally everyone grabbing what they're in the mood for... or have the time for. The orchards have been turned into a subdivision. Easter traditions are topics of conversation now and then, nothing more. And they each have their own (much smaller) trees, their own private, individual, time opening (far fewer) presents, and their own breakfast menu.
Those times we shared with one another are gone, the but the memories linger. These days I try to watch my children and grandchildren with intent. I lick their daily activities into memory the way I might lick a creamy twist cone on a hot summer day....slowly, savoring every bit of coolness, and the rich combination of distinct flavors.
And I try not to blink.
Spring Clean Up in the Garden
9 years ago