For me,every autumn comes with a liberal dose of melancholy, despite the beauty of the changing leaves, the comfortable temperatures, and the fun family traditions of the season. The days grow a little darker and a feeling of bittersweet nostalgia creeps in, bringing with it a sobering awareness of how quickly the year(s) fly by.
This year, these feelings came particularly early, still in the balmy days of September. One evening, I found myself lying awake with the profound awareness that my son won't be a little kid much longer. In fact, in less than one month, he'll turn 13 and will officially be a teenager! Fortunately for me, he is in no hurry grow up, and possesses an endearing naivete and willingness to stay a kid. I can still entertain both my 6-year-old and my 12-year-old with many of the same activities. I wonder how much longer he'll want to indulge in child-like pastimes like jumping in a bounce-house with his little sister.
As I lay in bed pondering this, tears began to flow, until my whole body shook with mourning for this precious season of his life -- childhood. While I'd been busy trying to 'figure it all out' and 'get it right,' his childhood had been unfolding -- day by day, moment by moment. Had I been present to it, or had I simply seen each day as an obstacle in the way of tomorrow? Had I given him the upbringing I so wanted him to have? How will he look back on these formative years, and what will he wish I'd done differently?
I examined these heavy feelings and looked within for insight. Thankfully, I recalled that there was still something I could do. I could BE PRESENT in the time I have with my son, NOW. After all, isn't NOW the only time we ever have???
Rather than fear a day (soon or not) when he won't want to spend time with me, I could give my undivided attention and PRESENCE to being with him TODAY.
Roman had been asking for some time for a trip to Canada. I always thought it was a bit of a strange fascination, but I think the appeal for him was in "Leaving the Country" for the first time, which I could see being a big deal to him!
I decided it was finally time to take Roman for some family bonding time in Montreal. It was nice for Jason and me to be with only Roman, without his little sister around to command all the attention.
We created some pretty great family memories together: Biodome, an amazing show by Cirque Eloize, Roman's first French meal -- complete with escargot! On the drive home, we were surprised by the biggest, most vivid rainbow any of us have ever seen... I'm so glad we made the trip.
As I sit down to write this now, I realize that I might remember today for a long time to come. Memorable events of the day: learning the results of our country's elections, a first snowfall, an important visit with my 95-year-old grandmother in hospice care, learning that a family friend's wife passed away in her sleep at age 45, and that a close friend's girlfriend of six years had suddenly moved out with no explanation...
We never know what the future holds, or how many days we have left to enjoy together. There is no point in squandering the moment by worrying about the events of the future, or remaining caught up in the disappointments of the past. All we have is NOW. We can become PRESENT to the blessings we have RIGHT NOW, TODAY. We can love each other in THIS MOMENT -- the only time we have.
Today is a great day to let go of a grudge, to apologize, to tell someone you love them, to appreciate your body, ( even with the extra five pounds that you may never lose, because your body works, it's alive, and that's something to be grateful for.)
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ― Mother Teresa