I often focus on the big things in my children’s lives – future careers, health issues, long term effects of short term decisions – as well as in my own life and the lives of those whom I love and feel I have some bit of affect on. In my rush to influence the future, I often miss what’s going on day-to-day. But not always.
Sometimes there is the reminder that today is all that really matters. Walking with my oldest a while back, we came across a dog with his owner, and this encounter prompted the following conversation:
Me: “Dogs bring out the worst in me. I love other people’s dogs, but I CANNOT live with them.”
John: “I’d like one of those Alaskan Huskies with the blue eyes.”
Me: “That’s cool. When you have your own place, you can get a dog.”
Me: “Maybe when all of you are moved out and on your own, and Dad and I are retired, I’d like to get a dog.”
John: “Really?! You don’t have that much time.”
Honestly, we had just been talking about how time flies, how I remember vividly him as a baby, in a onesie covered in multi-colored airplanes. And suddenly it’s 20 years later, and we’re walking and talking about when he’s out on his own. And how time is flying and how a dog is a long term commitment, so perhaps I might want to consider that sooner rather than later. And that’s quite a reminder that I need to focus on the day-to-day, on the rare dinner when the five of us are together, on the walks with my children, the late-night back scratches, the Jeopardy matches, afternoons spent painting rocks, and the tradition of holidays where we are all (or at least most of us) together.
When I originally wrote this piece, Thanksgiving was just a few days away, and we were to celebrate with Steve’s family as we have for most of our married life, grateful for those here, perhaps welcoming a new friend, sharing our lives and enjoying the memories we make. I have always loved Thanksgiving, my favorite of all holidays, food and family-focused with no materialistic overtones. Even as family has changed, both my definition of and those surrounding me, I’ve always tried to appreciate the here and now, on Thanksgiving absolutely, but each day as well. This walk with John reminded me again of the importance of today, of the short term as well as the long term, of joy, of appreciation, of life.
That being said, I don’t think we’ll be getting a dog anytime soon.