As I sat at my usual Starbucks, trying to find the words for this post, I took a minute, sipped my coffee and looked around. The place was packed. Why? It was a Thursday at 11:00, why were all these men here having business meetings? There was a table of six men with blueprints spread out on a long table. Then there was a table of 3 men to my left talking about the music business and how people listen to the same 20 songs over and over. I tried my hardest not to interject into that conversation because I currently had my playlist on repeat with the same 20 songs I ALWAYS listen to. It’s weird to me how Starbucks became the new office space. But I suppose I was as guilty as all these people; only I wasn’t really “working” I was writing, with Sara Barellis and John Mayer on a volume so loud trying to block out all the sound of those meetings.
I sat there minding my own business when it happened, like it always does, starting at the top of my head working its way down to my midsection, a hot flash. Yes, my hot flashes are back, and nothing really can make you feel like you’re on the downward side of life than having a hot flash. Those hot flashes made me feel even older while I was surrounded by my teenage nieces and nephews at my mom’s house last week. As I watched half of the grandchildren splashing in the pool, I remembered when my own kids were little, and the pool was one of the biggest attractions at Grandma’s house. They loved waking up, changing from their pajamas right into their bathing suits, and straight into the pool. Grandpa would always cook them breakfast and bring it to them, poolside. My kids are now almost in their 30’s, but I watched the younger grandchildren splashing each other, and I felt ancient.
While I was at my mom’s I sat at a table with 2 of my sisters watching kids in the pool, my dad operating the grill and my mom was talking to one of her adult grandchildren, and I was trying to convince myself that it was the Florida heat, not a hot flash. I was thinking about my family, there are a lot of us, we are usually loud, and for the most part, we all get along with each other. The oldest grandchild belongs to me and he will be 28 this September. The youngest grandchild belongs to my brother, and he isn’t even 2. My mom is going to turn 75 in January, and this trip last week had me imagining life without her. Her own mother lived until she was 81, but developed dementia close to my mom’s current age. Me and my mother haven’t always gotten along, but still life without her scares me.
I know I don’t have to type this, but life goes fast, and before you know it, the baby that you brought home from the hospital, unsure what to do, with a love you never realize you were capable of feeling and not sure how to keep something so tiny alive is turning 28 years old. Before you know it, your mother is 75 and reminds you so much of her mother it’s scary. Before you realize it, you are finding a seat at the table that is directly under the air conditioner vent to combat the hot flash. I was worried about this trip to Florida because my family is a lot. There are five siblings and thirteen grandchildren, add to that spouses and the rouge aunt or uncle that showed up to see the family, there are times when there isn’t enough air in the house to breath, let alone get a word in edgewise. I can remember being little and hating the fact that I had such a large family. I distinctly remember my mother being pregnant with my sister and telling her I didn’t want a sister, I wanted to be an only child forever, but now, I’m not sure I would be happy with that today.
I don’t know what this post is trying to say, and I’m sure it is not one of my better ones, but I guess I’m saying this; take a minute and sit and be grateful for all that you have. For a minute or two, ignore the laundry that needs folding, ignore those dishes in the sink that no one bothered putting in the dishwasher, ignore the dust on the coffee table and look around you. Take a deep breath and look at your children, soak them in, if your mom is around, hug her, tight.
On my last night in Florida when we were leaving my parent’s house, I hugged my father goodbye and told him I loved him. I heard his voice crack as he told me he loved me so much and as we piled in my car, there stood my dad in the driveway waving goodbye until he could no longer see us. I drove to my hotel with my kids and was thankful for the darkness of the night so they couldn’t see the tears coming down my cheeks.
Life is short, hug the people you love, take a minute every day to take a deep breath of gratitude because you can, then fold the laundry.