Question #309: In the haste of your daily life, what are you not remembering?
I saw this question, and knew I would use it for today, the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. I posted twice on this blog on the actual day of those attacks, and shared further memories about that day and how it shaped the rest of my life many times here over the years.
So this will not be a rehash about the particulars of that day, but such an anniversary is a timely reminder that life is precious and can be snuffed out in ways that are slow and silent, or quick and violent. The cliche rings true: every day is a gift.
And it’s really the simplest things that matter most. That right there is something I don’t remember as often as I should in the haste of my daily life. It’s the simple things.
On the one hand, 9/11, and the things that followed that shaped my military career and my life trajectory, drilled it into my head that time is precious. Life is precious. This desire to fill my life with grand, meaningful actions and gestures comes from a good place. At the end of my life, whenever that may be, I don’t want there to be any doubt that I took full advantage of my time here on Earth.
Such a mindset, however, can come at a cost. I know that I often overthink, overplan, overanalyze, and overdo things.
As the kids these days say, I always gotta be extra.
I like to forecast. I like to churn in the details of things. Details are thoughtful. Details are important.
I think one of my greatest fears is wasting time. I am getting better at slowing down, and taking time to just be silent and pause, but it’s taken several decades to get to that point.
The thing I know, but often forget, is that none of that stuff really matters in the end, though.
The things that communicate love, family, and safety, the things that I want my kids and husband to remember most, are the little, simple things.
Like pulling them onto my lap to play a few tunes together on the piano.
Making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, talking as we stand around the kitchen island with our glasses of milk.
Sunday mornings piled up in my bed, all six of us.
Smacking my husband on his ass as he walks by.
Slipping a note into their backpacks.
Deciding not to get angry, not to let my own irritations and fears color the way I engage with them.
Laughing at their jokes. Knowing their friends’ names.
Ignoring (for a moment) the mountains of dirty laundry marinating under their beds, and instead, inquiring about their day and the challenges they faced, and brainstorming solutions with them.
Squeezing them tight and inhaling them just as they are at this moment.
These things, I can easily forget in the haste of daily life, but they are so important to remember.
So I remind myself. Every day.