|Grandpa playing Belle's guitar, 12/10|
A few years back, we took my grandpa to see a Dolly Parton concert. She was one of his favorites. He remembered her when she was a local girl, singing on the small stage. I'm pretty sure that the entire time she was singing that night, on that big stage, he just *knew* she was singing right to him. He smiled the entire time. We all did. After that concert I downloaded her latest album, not so much because I would listen to it regularly, but I knew that when I listened to her music I would think of him. And I do. Seven months ago, Grandpa's time on this earth ended. When I need to feel him I listen to Dolly. Our Dolly.
Today, as I was traveling the never ending sidewalk (treadmill), my favorite song from that album came on. It fits. It isn't the most up tempo workout song, but it's upbeat and keeps me moving. Keeps me motivated. But today I listened to every.single.word. That's when I realized it fit my resolution. It's song one: Better Get to Livin'
I learned a lot about myself in 2011. I learned that I'm stronger than I ever imagined. I learned that what I thought I wanted isn't what I really want. I learned that I am nothing without my husband and my family. I never imagined my life would be this way. I learned I wouldn't change it for anything.
I also learned things that hurt. I learned that people I thought were friends really aren't. I learned that people I thought were just acquaintances are really friends. I learned that people will hurt my kids, and I can't control that, but I can help my kids grow into stronger young ladies and learn from the mistakes of others. I learned to be okay with people not liking me, I learned that I can't please everyone, and making other people happy isn't the most important thing I will do each day. I learned that time passes, people do change...and come and go, and life goes on. It goes on whether you want it to or not. And one day you wake up and wonder where in the world the last two years have gone...the last eight...the last 11... I woke up one day and wondered where in the world the time has gone. It's easy to go through the motions of each day, but when I stopped to think about it, I was blown away. In May, 17 years will have passed since I graduated from high school. In May, D and I mark 13 years since our first date. Sixteen and a half years ago I thought I knew it all. Obviously, I'm still learning, and have a lot more to learn.
Back to the treadmill... The very next song on my playlist (which was set to shuffle) was the song that really inspired my resolution. I have been thinking about the realistic changes I want to make in my life. I've started implementing the most important change. I'm purging. Yes, I'm purging things from my home. Junk, clutter, things that take up space and waste my time. I'm purging from the pantry. It's that time of year that we are way overstocked on candy and sweets. Cleaning out the pantry is like therapy for me. I'm purging the calendar. Yep. That's my bottom line. Why? Watch this: Blink
I want to give my kids the world. I want to show them, teach them, provide countless opportunities for learning, growing, changing, and becoming the most amazing young ladies possible. But I'm going about it the wrong way. Or I was. We joined a homeschool group. We signed up for activity after activity. We joined a playgroup. We joined a mom's club. We had 2-3+ things a day. We had gymnastics, soccer, martial arts, piano lessons, book clubs, co-op, movie nights, storytime, ...the list goes on and on. One day my neighbor asked why we call it **home** schooling. I laughed. But now his question resonates within me.
Breaking it down, home is where your family is. I know I can **home** school my kids in the car, in line at the grocery store, at Momo's house, in Texas or Indiana, on the moon. Wherever, whenever, I get it. Teachable moments aren't limited to the confines of our home. But all of the activities and time in the car can distract from real learning and real living. At least in our family. The rush to get from one place to the next. The stress of drop-off/pick-up details on the calendar, who is going to eat dinner at what time and who can run this kid to this activity while the other picks up that kid and runs to the store. I get it...almost every single family does the same thing. But I don't want to. Not anymore.
Why? Because it happens in a blink. So cliché, right? But it's true. After all, that's what makes it a cliché. Time is fleeting, and when the weeks are piled high with calendar entries, it flies even faster. I used to think that was a good thing. Let's get through this stage so we can be out of diapers. Let's get through this stage so we can take the training wheels off. Let's get through so we can be out of carseats/booster seats/high chairs. But look where we are now.
I want nothing more than to lay on the floor and do puzzles with my chubby fingered blondie. But she's almost 12 and her fingers are long and slender, her cheeks aren't chubby, and she's not two anymore. The first brown-eyed girl, who loved her time as my little sidekick, when Sunshine was still in school and our days stretched full of endless adventures. Lately, our days are full of pre-planned obligations that leave little time for true living.
Yes, I have a 2 year old full of little kidlet fun, but there are so many memories, moments that I want to relive, and I can't. I will not hear her squeaky newborn sounds, see her tiny hand grasping the cereal from her tray or the pride when she learns to get the spoon...with food on it...all the way into her mouth.
There is nothing I can do to turn back time. I can't relive these moments except in memories, which I cherish. But I can slow down now. I can really LIVE each moment. I can cherish things as they happen.
Counting every moment in 2012...and making every moment count.