I sent out an email to family and friends recently and told them I was “amazed that it is already August…this year has just flown by as far as I’m concerned. It makes me almost dizzy when I look back at the year and remember certain events and highlights…and the summer, almost a blur! I have come to the conclusion that I don’t always have to be doing something….it is ok to be still. Sometimes it is nice to just sit…to look around and really see…to take a moment to listen to the sounds of life. I’m practicing enjoying silence….enjoying just being still.”
I was recalling a night recently when thoughts were racing through my mind, much like this year has raced by. And suddenly I felt very sad…..no one event came in to play….I just felt sad. So I decided to be still…to quiet the chatter in my mind…..to walk away from the list of “things to do”….to turn off the electronic devices that have seemingly taken over our lives….to sit quietly and listen in a different way.
I have realized that my step-father’s deteriorating health after his accident last November and his subsequent death in June had a greater impact on me than I originally thought. That sounds worse than it is meant to….of course his passing created a huge hole in our hearts and a sadness we are all still dealing with, that is a given. I just didn’t realize how much the events of the past several months had affected me until I started to be still…and when I did, I discovered that sadness has a tendency to linger longer than the laughter sometimes. Some days in my mind, it is as if he isn’t gone, life is as it was once upon a time….other days the realization is more profound and it lays heavy on my heart.
This year we have celebrated the my youngest daughters 18th birthday and her graduation from high school. Almost two months after that, my oldest daughter turned 21. It suddenly hit me one evening recently that my babies were old enough to be on their own. I was on my own by the time I was 18….although I did flutter back home to the nest a couple of times for a short stay when things didn’t work out quite like I had planned ~ just long enough to get back on my feet and I was off again. They are there…were I once was….how can so many years have passed so quickly? I’m still a young woman with dreams of my own but now my babies…all grown up and I’m much older than 18. Now I am the keeper of the nest and there is talk of adventures…dreams…plans for a life on their own ~ to make their own way, their own decisions…as it should be. I’m still needed but in a very different way than when they were 7 and 4 and we were all alone, starting over as three. I get sentimental when I remember our struggles and our good times….and the satisfaction that we made it. Could I have done some things differently, of course…but that is water under a bridge we passed long ago and the river keeps flowing so I go with it.
I stress too much about little things sometimes and not enough about the big things. My mother use to tell me that ’people are so worried about the piss ants they don’t realize the elephants are stomping them to death’. I have been elephant stomped on more than one occasion. Being still helps me keep my eye out for them and I can avoid the stampedes.
When our refrigerator died recently I took all of the magnets, notes, photographs, etc. off the old one and put it aside for the new one. After the new one was installed with the door and sides free of magnet clutter, I decided to leave them off….time for a grown up refrigerator I said. Yesterday I put all of our travel magnets back on….the baby photos of my two girls….a photograph of my step-father laughing at a story my brother was telling during a holiday meal….some of the magnets my daughters have made over the years and my second place medal from a 5k race. I decided grown up stuff is over rated sometimes. One thing that is not over rated……being still.