“Forever is composed of nows.” (~Emily Dickinson)
She giggles after each page she reads and looks up at me with sparkling eyes to watch my reaction. I can’t help but smile at her, and I try to capture each giggle in my memory banks so I won’t forget the sound.
It’s the same giggle she makes each time she asks me for something in Go Fish. I scrunch up my face and pretend to be upset when she asks for a whale and I must hand over the three I am holding. She counts up her eight sets and my four, and she covers her mouth overjoyed with her win.
She finds me reading and asks me to play. We spend an hour in her room. She is my daughter and her dolls are my grandbabies, Belle and Maribel. I knock on her door and make my grand entrance, “oohing” and “ahhing” over how big her babies have gotten and how much I have missed her and them. She giggles again and enters in the play, and we are caught up into an imaginary world–one that I long to see become reality.
We pile her dollies into her stroller, and I teach her how to swaddle Maribel, and we go for a walk downstairs to visit Grandaddy (that’s Brian) at work. He is on his computer and his face lights up when he sees us, but hers lights up even more as he joins in our world, delighted with our visit.
When I must “leave”, I kiss those babies and hug my girl, and head downstairs to make supper, and I hear her humming in her room as she tucks them into cribs and folds their blankets. As I pass through the hallway, I peek in on Bear who is struggling to learn a new song on the piano, and I tousle his hair, “You sound great, kiddo.” I whisper to him, and his face lights up. “Do you want to play with me?” So I pause a moment to play a duet with my boy, and he is happy.
My Ash-man comes in from outside where he has been swishing a ball through a hoop for hours, content in his quietness to persist in learning. “Hi, Mom,” he says breathlessly. He smells of woodsmoke, and I can feel the chill of the weather on his clothes. He reaches in the fridge and steals a grape, ducking his head when I catch him and playfully swat his arm. “Wanna play Rummy?” I start supper, and we begin our game, and like always, he wins, and I smile, content to be gracious in loss to my 10 year old.
We sit around the table together, all of us, and I think about those who leave empty spaces at other tables, and a mixture of sadness and gratefulness wells up in my heart. We eat together, laugh together, share our days together, and then I pick up our book, and we are transported into an imaginary land, and eyes sparkle and breaths are gasped and my heart is filled.
This past week has been been full of heartbreak, and the monotony of pain seems to ache constantly in my soul. Get up, go to work, clean house, fold laundry, drive carpool, piano lessons, grocery shopping, try. not. to. cry. try. not. to. weep.
Then I look around.
So much beauty.
And here is the beauty of it all.
The days may feel monotonous, but the people in them aren’t.
Each day there is a new story to discover, a new joy to welcome, a new adventure to imagine.
So whether it’s racing cars in Mario Kart and teasing the boys when I beat them (which is becoming more rare these days), or whether it’s picking up Maribel and pretending to rock her to sleep, I see it in their eyes.
The joy of time together, of spending my moments doing something more worthwhile than what I had been intending to do beforehand.
The days are all too fleeting. The moments slip through my fingers like holding onto drops.
Which moments will I grasp?
Will it be the moments that matter to them?
Will it be the moments that impact eternity?
Or will I look back with regret over how little I’ve really lived WITH them?
The grief is there. The loss of my friend. The struggle of health. The news of others aching, hurting, grieving… They are all real. They are all hard.
But if that is all I see.
I will miss all this.
What happens. It matters, my friends. It matters.