On Wednesday, I was answering a friend from out-of-town’s message.
She asked, “How are the kids?”
I answered, “My oldest, Greer, started high yesterday.”
I caught myself as I typed it, and my head wouldn’t let go of that sentence.
Long after the conversation ended, I kept replaying it over and over in my head. I could almost hear a future, older (and hopefully wiser) version of me saying and thinking, “It seems like yesterday when Greer started high school.”
But Wednesday was the only day it would ever be true.
Now, I don’t want to get sappy sweet and sentimental, but the moment was one of those present tense nostalgia flashes. I recognized that what was happening as it was happening was significant — and that the memory of the moment would always invoke a certain wistfulness.
Truth be told, it’s been a week of big moments, all around. Greer’s younger sister, Piper, started middle school. My only niece earned her white coat and entered pharmacy school. And, one of my nephews graduated from Basic Training. Landmark moments all around for our family.
Throughout the week and the days leading up to it, we’ve been so busy taking care of so many details and getting everything done that had to get done that I didn’t take the time or energy to absorb the magnitude or beauty of this phase of life.
For that matter, I’ve also not taken the time to appreciate all of the little moments either — and, in my experience, the little moments generally add up to a whole lot more than the big ones. They are the moments that make or break us. They are the moments that show our true character. And when the going gets tough, they are the moments that become our anchor.
For some reason, recognizing that I had missed some good moments was easier than it sometimes is in all of the bedlam that back to school offers. For example, before bed one night, Piper, our 10 year old, walked up and sat down on the sofa. I was working on a project. She said, “Mom, will you braid my hair?”
I was hyper-focused and close to finishing something that I needed to finish and told her I just couldn’t braid her hair right then. She said, “OK,” and headed to bed.
When she walked away, I began to wonder, “What could I be doing that couldn’t wait five minutes for me to braid that sweet child’s hair?”
The answer: nothing.
It could have all waited.
And it should have.
How many more times will she ask me to braid her hair?
A thousand, I hope.
And if that’s what I hope, then I better braid it when she asks. So later this week, I got the opportunity for a little redemption when she asked again if I’d braid her hair, (as I was trying to write this column, in fact). I took my own advice and braided two short and stubby piggy tails.
Her short hair is just a phase. No doubt, those piggy tails will grow — just like her, her sister, her cousins and the rest of us.
(Jan Risher’s column, Long Story Short, appear in The Sunday Advertiser. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)