It’s inevitably true that it is most difficult to live in the present moment. We awaken, get others going, feed pets, think about what we’re going to have for breakfast; answer e-mails; plan errands, formulate meal plans, and think about a hundred other things.
Being present and in the moment is a luxury and a gift. Striving for that illusive “I am here, right now, nothing else matters” moments are few and far between, and I daresay for most of us almost impossible to achieve.
Last month I thought a lot about my mom. April was the month of her birth and death. Each year, a great deal of that month is taken up with memories happy and sad, with May simply being the next month on the calendar. This year however, I have a great deal to look forward to in the merry month of May. My twenty-one year old daughter Taylor is graduating from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova- Scotia, with a degree in Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies. She managed a grueling six course semester (not recommended for us mere mortals) with a 3.95 GPA. As if that wasn’t enough, she worked at a café, was a server at a banquet hall, a coat check girl, and a professional hoola-hooper on the weekends.
She came to a crossroads last year, deciding on whether to pursue a masters in Sociology, (which would mainly be research and statistics) or to apply to the School of Social Work, and chose the latter. She wanted to in her own words, “make a difference.” She has tremendous people skills, empathy, an open heart, and is willing to do whatever necessary to help change this sorry world for the better. She is definitely the person that the adage “you may be only one person to the world, but you may the world to one person” was written about. I’m going to go out on not so far a limb and say that she will change the world for many, many people.
Being a parent in the sandwich generation provides a unique perspective. We can look back and view the past, and look forward into the future through our children. I must admit, it is somewhat bittersweet. Don’t get me wrong, While most of us still have a lot of life to live, our goals have mostly been achieved. We’ve had careers, whether in the corporate world, or being moms who’ve kept homes and raised our amazing children, and hopefully, we have achieved at least some of the goals we set for ourselves way back in our twenty something’s.
I look at my son and daughter and yes I’ll admit it, I’m a bit envious that they are just starting out on their paths. Like most of us those paths will be filled with excitement, joys, hardships; I hope love and marriage, and perhaps children of their own.
Awhile back I read something that asked. “If you could go back in time, what one piece of advice would you have given your younger self?” An intriguing question. I would have told myself to stretch more, to be braver and take risks. I would have told myself that yes, you can do it!
My daughter has already done these things and more. She is one of my heroes. She has accomplished more in her twenty-one years that I could in a lifetime, and she has just begun.
I am so proud of her, and on May 25th, our family will gather on the Atlantic Shores to celebrate her scholastic achievements, which are not yet done by any means, as we got word earlier this week that she was in fact accepted into the highly selective Dalhousie School of Social Work.
She will be the first person on my side of the family to ever graduate University, and I know that past and present will culminate in that moment as my grandmother and mother will both echo the sentiments of love and pride that I will express to her on that day. It will be one of those very rare, truly “present” moments.
We look backwards or forwards most of our lives. It is a unique blessing to experience life through your children’s eyes and lives. Taylor and Matthew, you have given me a totally different experience from my own, and I thank you both for that blessing and privilege. I look forward to seeing where your paths lead you, and if you look back a little, you’ll see I’m always right behind you.