Summer vacation is only a week away, and I’m all aflutter. Rachel had Friday off due to a doctor’s appointment and Sarah stayed home sick, so I got a jump on summer by going to Rachel’s house this week-end. This facilitated just a bit of practice snuggle and leisure time spent with the grandgirls and their mom as they slide into home plate of the end of the school year.
While at Rachel’s, I finished a book that my niece Nikki sent me called Life Is a Verb. It is about living intentionally, as if you may be dead in thirty-seven days. The overarching message is that we must be more careful to cultivate and share the parts of us we want to leave behind when we go. Twenty-one years ago, when I was going through some very serious life changes that caused me to feel completely out of control my destiny, I was exposed to a similar philosophy in a series of audio cassettes that posited the question,”How would you spend your time if you knew that you only had six more months to live?”
Twenty-one years ago, I knew that if I was in that position, I’d want to quit my job, take my children out of school and spend my last six months celebrating life with them as we traveled the world together. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in reality, as my children have people in their lives other than me. Even if I was dying, my children would still want to see their people.
I seem to always be living as if I only have a few weeks left to live, hence my wanderlust. I’ve always been greedy for time with the people who mean the most to me. I hunger for all the dynamic energy that surrounds the still growing, still discovering young people in my life. Now that my children are grown, I have to fight the same impulse to smother my grandchildren. They change so rapidly, I fell like they become different people between each set of visits.
I have always lived for week-ends and summer vacations, when there’s more time to simply be together. This is when I really get to know my people. Those early morning hours in our pajamas are the most precious times of all -- the reconnecting after a night of separation and sleep and the easing into the new day’s activities. I also love the bedtime rituals, especially when the children want to have a story read or a back rub or a special song before closing their eyes for the evenings escape into dreamland.
One has to practice relaxation skills when most of one’s life is lived in overdrive, as Rachel’s family's is. I’ll be going back to Atlanta for Rebecca’s sweet sixteen party next week-end, so we’ll get in a little more practice. All of this is building up to a summer promising lots of leisure, love and laughter with Scott’s brood, Rachel’s family and various other members of our extensive tribe.