While I was reading all of the clever posts that my friends had put on Facebook the other night, I came across one that somehow amused me and at the same time, caused me to reflect. It said, "Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big ones."
I began to list the "little things" in my mind, and pretty soon I was enveloped in thoughts about the past. At first I thought it might be a bit corny to write all of them down, but perhaps you will create your own list after reading mine. For the sake of time and space, I will limit my sharing to the top 10 favorites that popped into my mind: the day I first saw my son, and then the first day I first saw my daughter; the first day I said good-bye at the kindergarten door and then went home to cry; my daughter's first pair of patent leather party shoes and then her first pair of high heels; the pleasure of eating ice cream cones made by grandpa at family dinners; the day my son fell into the mud puddle at the park; rushing to be first in the carpool line at preschool; required night-night songs at bed time when I sang "just one more mommy, please" and rocked my babies in the large yellow wicker rocking chair; repeated trips to the orthodontist for broken wires; licorice sticks and popcorn at the movies; and, most of all, little arms around my neck.
The days seem so long when you are on your journey, either with children or without, either with a spouse or not; yet the years seem so short. Victor E. Frankel wrote in his book entitled Man's Search For Meaning that there are only three possible sources to find meaning in life: "in work, in love and in courage."
As a retired teacher I ponder the years in a work environment that I loved. The parents were so interesting as were the little children who waited so eagerly for my arrival in the morning. I often wonder if I retired too soon when I visit the schools of my grandchildren. I see that innocence and sweetness on their faces, and I want to sing songs with them and teach them all about people who have made a difference in the world. I want them to know that they are each important and special.
As much as I revel in the times I spend with my six grandchildren, their parents no longer need my daily guidance and nurturing. (Perhaps it was I who was being nurtured by them as well!) My adult son and my adult daughter make me so proud of who they have become in their kindness and caring for others. They honor me by parenting their own children now. It is their turn.
I suppose this part of my life is the time for courage. It takes a lot of courage to age. Inside my head I still remember the young woman that I was, even on days that my back reminds me of the impending years. I have no regrets about anything, I simply pray for the "little moments" to keep happening in new ways. Then I can happily recount how grateful I am, and I can remind myself that it is all important, Then I have the courage to anticipate and relish each and everyday for what it brings.