Written by Cathy
Last week Emily wrote, very poignantly, of every parent’s bittersweet responsibility of letting go. For Em that journey has just begun. The children are young. Only Noah is school-age. So the road is still a long one, we hope, with many opportunities to create experiences and build memories. From my perspective, and those of my generation, we are looking down a much shorter thoroughfare and so our mantra is one of “Hold on. Just let me hold on for a bit longer.”
What we have are our memories, and fewer opportunities to create those shared moments that will become the beloved snapshots of our lives.
That’s why we, your parents and grandparents, sometimes seem demanding or difficult. Do you sigh with impatience when mom and dad ask you to come for the holiday? When we hope for drop-ins and spontaneous phone calls?
Harry Chapin comes to mind, when the father asks the son to visit, “I’d love to dad, if I could find the time.”
Why such a sense of urgency? It’s because we have had to let go of so much already– those precious first days of school with your eager smiles but nervous hands, the dances where you contrive to meet that special someone, the games where we marvel at the beauty of your strong, agile bodies. Shall I go on? The fear in the pit of our stomachs when you proudly dangle the car keys, the sight of your head held high in the graduation line, your expectant, exuberant smile when you join your life to your chosen one, the almost overwhelming welling up of love when your child holds her own child for the very first time.
But you know, not all the most prized memories are of those momentous milestones. Those less significant, but still heart-warming moments, are treasured as well– laughter in the kitchen, dancing around the table, fighting in the backseat, crafting school projects, preparing Sunday dinners, visiting family on weekends. The whole tapestry of our lives is what we hold onto.
These are all the wonderful times you have in front of you.
So please indulge us when it’s you, you we hope to laugh with, cry with, be with.
A few weeks ago John and I, along with his sisters and brother-in-law got together with his mother. We laughed ’til our stomachs ached over childhood escapades– John tormenting his sisters and his mother being oblivious to his madcap shenanigans. What a glorious night! A gift to a loving mom. That is what we want– a slice of life seasoned with love and laughter. Before we stood to say our good nights, John remarked, “When I’m not here, I want you to remember this night.” His sister Diane laughed at his sentimentality.
As I write these lines, the words of Simon and Garfunkle are running through my mind:
Time it was and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.
So let us celebrate all of life’s precious moments, the letting go and the gathering in.