As noted 20th-century philosopher Ferris Bueller remarked, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to be older. My Mom would say, “Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, Heather. Enjoy where you are now.” Despite her sage advice, I was never content being whatever age I happened to be.
To my naive mind, if I could just be 5, or 9, or 18 — I could go to school with the big kids, or stay up later to finish that compelling novel or eat cake for dinner because I was old enough to make my own choices.
I guess you’d say I wasn’t a “bloom where you’re planted” sort of youngster. If I had a dollar for every time I said or thought “I’m bored,” in my youth ….
Now that I struggle to find any margins in my weekly schedule, I wish I could go back in time and shake some sense into that kid.
“You’re bored??” I’d say. “Just you wait. Someday, you’ll be so busy that you’ll fantasize about having nothing to do.”
Our planners and phones are filled to the brim with lists, tasks and meetings, yet how many of us schedule regular time for prayer? Or time with our spouse? Children? Friends? When is our appointed time for meaningful communion with God and neighbor?
Present-day me is in good company; St. Jose Maria Escriva said, “Don’t you long to shout to those youths who are bustling around you: Fools! Leave those worldly things that shackle the heart — and very often degrade it — leave all that and come with us in search of Love!”
I’m still trying to kick my own inner “foolish youth bustling around” to the curb in an effort to seek, find and give away love.
Once upon a time, when I was drowning in dirty diapers and burp cloths, well-meaning folks would observe my underage entourage and declare with a smile: “Enjoy every moment now, because it will be over too soon.”
Usually I would respond with a clenched jaw and a reluctant smile, hoping my head wouldn’t spontaneously combust in the cereal aisle. Because who in her right mind would enjoy blow-out diapers, temper tantrums, math homework, and the unceasing noise and sleep deprivation associated with motherhood?
Recently we’ve been going through the high school application process for our first-born. Just the words “high school” make me feel not old but astonished. Wasn’t it only yesterday that our sweet baby daughter announced her existence with two pink lines on a stick? And I could have promised you it was only the day before that her father and I met.
Whereas yesterday my eldest was kicking a ball down the soccer field, tomorrow she’ll be packing up her room to go to college somewhere, and the next day (well, please, Jesus, let it actually NOT be the next day) she’ll call to tell me that I’m going to be a grandmother.
These days, I’m appreciating where I am and the gifts each moment brings. I realize that taking time for something as simple as appreciating this present moment is one way I can thank God for the gift of this crazy, beautiful life.
The writer is a wife and mother in the wilds of suburban Portland.