The mother and daughter sat across from each other in the small diner. Both adults but as with every child-parent relationship the child is still the child to the parent–no matter how old they get. The daughter took a sip of her latte and typed feverishly at her keyboard. She had brought her laptop so both could handle some unfinished business. The mother took her turn typing (although a little more slowly and a little less confidently) and was pleased with the outcome. They discussed their future plans to move in together. They compared the properties they had looked at; some good, some not. The deadline for moving was drawing to a close and both were walking by faith. The daughter had been down this path many times so panic had not yet kicked in. It would take a little longer for that to happen, if it did at all. Though their meeting was about the future they reflected on the now.
“Can you believe I’m this old?” the daughter said. The mother responded in equal amazement, “No. It’s crazy! I remember when you were in the womb…” and then as was their custom she reminisced about that time of pregnancy 30+ years ago. Her eyes glazed over and she held a far off daze. There were family members who had passed and many who were distant. “I never thought I would lose my whole immediate family”, the mother said. “Well, you have me” I replied. We sat in silence for a moment. It was just us. I never wanted it to be that way. I always wanted a family. I told her just as much that day. I told her how grateful I was for a spiritual family, these spiritual sisters that keep multiplying, but how I still desired blood relatives. “I wanted that for you too” she said.
I ran into a brother that day and teased him about being alone. He explained his wife and children were at a party and he had just gotten off his 2nd job. I was reminded of how different our lives were–his full with mouths to feed–my mouth sipping a latte. It’s easy to covet what one doesn’t have, to see the gift each season holds. Still, some seasons last too long…I told him about a writer’s class that I’m enjoying. “It’s finishing up soon but I’ll keep you in mind for the next one!” “Please do!” he said. Then I teased him about not having room in his schedule. He assured me he will make room. Funny, even with all the things I have going on in this season, I always seem to have room…
For the first time in my life I literally feel “older”. I’ve been thinking about the past and wondering about the future. I don’t have any goals set or big ticket items to check off my checklist. There are responsibilities to carry out and finances to build. There are a few trips I want to take and people I want to see. But no goals.
I think reality is setting in. Maybe that’s what happens in your mid 30’s. You realize though you have much ahead you have a good chunk that is behind and for the first time I have found myself second guessing past choices. My dad assured me on my birthday I had made the right choices. Then why do I not have what I want? I thought to myself. I wrestled with that question for a while.
I’m still wrestling.
The past cannot be changed, only our present. Our now choices will create our future. And as I told my friend last night, all we can do is walk in the light and understanding that we have today. I believe we are only held accountable for that much.