Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The last day

A few months ago, we were at the mall and the kids took a carousel ride. Something hit me really hard that day. Watching a tween struggle with a ride and pride, a little who was bashful, I found myself wondering: I wish I had known when the last day was, that last day when we could do these things and do them with joy ... I would have gone out that day and rode the carousel with my kids, if I had known when the last day was.

Watching David age ... he stood in our yard three years ago, able to walk and drive and get around on his own. He hired a man to do the clearing for us, telling him what to cut and what to leave. He designed our landscape. But even then, I sensed his frustration.

"I used to be able to do all of that!" he said as he pointed to the hired man. "I could do all of that and didn't need anyone to tell me what to do."

In his seventies, his age caught up with him. He wanted to be able to haul the rocks and cut the trees and rip out the growth. But he couldn't. Three years later, he needs assistance to cross a room, easily tired and often dizzy from vertigo.

I know someone who had had bad results from a surgery that impaired her vision and her ability to walk. She didn't anticipate the worst case scenario. She's at least eleven years into her new normal, and I listen to her reminisce on the things that she used to do. Though she doesn't speak of not being able to do those things now, her nostalgia hints at loss.

When our treadmill broke, Shane toyed with repairing it and asked me if I'd use it.

"I think my running days are over," I told him. And I find myself wondering, when was that last day that I could have run any real distance? If I had known, would I have run?

When was the last day that my kids would be littles on a carousel ... would still want a mama's hand to hold ... would still prefer a read aloud to reading alone?

It has shaped how I view life.

When my child reaches for my hand, I hold on. When she comes to me to talk, I listen. When she wants to read a book, I do it. When the pool is full of friends, I will be the mom who organizes seahorse races across the pool and joins in on the fun.

Even when it's just us, and they say, "Come in, Mom!" I will do it now.

At the amusement park last week, Lanie and I got front seats on the roller coaster.

I had never done that in my life. Neither had she. And as we tick-ticked up the first hill, I raised my hands high in the air and through the drop and around the bends ... because who is to know when it is the last day?

yeah, I'm a goof
The last day a body tolerates the jerk and yank of a ride; the last day a child prefers the company of a parent over that of a friend; the last day we are together as a family.

And now I understand the saying, to live each day as if it were your last.


No comments: