Lately, I've been thinking about how this life is just a blip on the radar. About how my lifetime will be a speck of sand in the history of the world. I've wondered about what legacy I'll leave, and how the way I spend my days will be interpreted by myself when I am nearing my end. How I'll feel when my days are numbered and I reflect back to see what I've left. And instead of trying to keep up with my 37 journals, I'd rather just write when something comes to me. When it hits me and I can't possibly focus on completing another task before I put my thoughts down. And tonight, I was sitting at my computer.
When I am old and gray, I pray I remember the little ones. The moments that seem menial compared to the big, expected events in life… graduations, marriages, children, and yes, even deaths. The chilly nights huddled around a crackling campfire with my whole family, swaddled in sweatshirts, the stars beaming down on us like the world was only ours. The bike rides and hikes we would take through those state parks… once followed up with a refreshing-albeit-forbidden dip in the watering hole. The Christmases we eagerly anticipated, and then spent around an always-authentic-tree… chiming in with the “remember when’s.” And how it was more about the six of us being in the same room, surrounded by a cacophony of each others’ laughter than the presents we were unwrapping. The fire drills my parents led when we were in elementary school, and the thrill that rushed through my body as we ran down the driveway to our safe place, behind the shed. The few moments I ever felt close to and safe with my mom, usually sitting side by side on a cheap sofa, clutching Nintendo controllers, late at night. I hope I remember when she was healthy, and smiling—the same version of her I always heard about from high school classmates, but rarely witnessed—the disease was far too advanced. The incessant bickering we kids did in the backseat of the F150, and later, the Aerostar van… and how quickly it seemed to fade when all at once, we were adults with new problems to embrace. The roadtrips that seemed so boring while Dad was driving, Jules was skimming a paperback, and we toddlers, kids, teens were all shoulder-to-shoulder, whining that “he’s breathing on me.” …and yet now, I’d kill to have a week to do the exact same thing. The hours and money my parents poured into those trips, and the lessons they were so passionate about teaching us throughout life… loving our country, a main point they drove home, and I am immensely grateful for… the chill in the depth of my bones when I kissed him for the first time, and the months and years that followed with him (and continue now!). The unabashed adoration that glowed in the eyes of my puppies… and the way I was convinced that I would never find a human that loved me so fiercely as did this puppy… first Freckles, then my own—Lucy, Maizie, Milo. The way their fur felt on my hand as I trailed it down their backs. The invincible feeling of riding shotgun at 17, flying down Valley Mills Drive after Mexican food with the girls, feeling like nothing could ever be better than a night of carefree giggling, the wind in our hair, sure that no one has lived life like this ever before. I pray I remember the laughs with my friends… the infectious ridiculous glee that seemed to bubble up out of nowhere sometimes, utterly irrepressible. I want to remember the relief I felt when finishing a big project, the compliments and encouragement I often received and cast aside, knowing I could do it better somehow, some way. The way some songs grew hands, fists of their own… the way they could catch my tender, tender heart and clutch and squeeze in a way that would make me cry and cry and cry—it started sometime when I was 12 or 13 and hasn’t ended yet…the tears sometimes flowed because I was so overwhelmingly joyful, I had no other way to express it. And sometimes—more often than I wanted--I was aching in a way where I was certain no one had endured the depth of the low I was flailing in. The way a sermon I needed to hear had the power to wrap me up, encompass me in a ball of shock and rawness… eager to change something about me, to just be better.