As the weekend comes to a close, I find myself with a quiet moment. Everyone is in bed, the Christmas tree glows softly, and there’s a chill in the air outside. The room smells like pine and I feel serene and at peace for the moment. And then the dog promptly gags and throws up a little in the floor.
The long weekend was a good one though, dog barf aside. Dinner with part of the family on Thanksgiving day and lunch with the rest of the family today. But there was one moment that has sat with me all weekend.
My two cousins and I were seated at one of the adult tables with our spouses. (I’m sure if you have a large family you know what the adult table is. The kids got the card tables and the adults sat at the big table.) And there we all are eating and having adult conversation when it suddenly struck me…where were the adults at the table? I mean, we can’t be the ones here at the table having grown up conversations about kids and gymnastics and politics, can we? Where were the real adults?
And the moment when I looked around at the table and realized we WERE the adults, it was like time slowed for just a second. My cousin sitting across from me, the one who played dress up with me at Grandmother’s house. Her husband sitting beside her. Her daughters on the sofa, her son upstairs playing with mine. My other cousin sitting beside me. The one who, along with the rest of us, used to play fun games on holidays like this. And there beside him, his wife, holding one of their three little ones in her lap. Suddenly the children weren’t at the kids’ table anymore. They were all grown up. Now our children were at the kids’ table. It was quite surreal.
And for that moment, I just wanted time to stop. To just stay right there, while my parents and my aunt and uncle talked at the other adult table. While our kids were all still young. Before our hair goes gray all over and time begins to take its toll. To just stay.
But stay, we cannot. Time is not ours to stop. The older I get, the faster it seems to go by. And the older I get, the easier it can be to look back and be found wanting. I think of things I wish I had valued at the time that I had them. Moments in time that start to fade that I wish I could remember better. So many things I realized I wanted to do when it was too late to do them.
But time doesn’t go backwards. Time moves forward. And we move with it. And we must live in the moment while it is ours. To enjoy what we are given as it is received. To take those surreal moments and breathe them in while we sit in them and have the pleasure of later recalling those moments with joy for having had them.
Yes, time moves forward, but in that moment looking around the table, my heart was full of gratitude and thanksgiving for what has been.