It is that time of year again, when we adults attend countless graduations, recitals, and sports tournaments. We sit through hours at each of those, just to see our loved ones have their thirty seconds of fame. Our granddaughter Virginia graduated from Happy Apple Academy last night, the third and last in her family to do so. It was very emotional for our daughter, Tara, who has lived this same scene with her other two children, Mary Grace (13) and Elsie (11). I still remember when a couple of the Happy Apple Teachers brought Virginia a Future Happy Apple Student t-shirt when she was born, and now, almost six years later, she is graduating from there. Amazing. Where have the years gone?
The years pass when we’re not looking. And the years are made up of many moments, and too often we miss those. In the midst of all of our daily responsibilities, we too often fail to slow down and enjoy the moments. The moments when our child runs over and grabs and kisses us, or yells out, “Mommy, I love you!” The moments when they have just had their bath, and are squeaky clean, and snuggle in the bed with us. Or the moments when they tattle on themselves, as Virginia did yesterday, telling her mom how she got in trouble at school for “just tapping” another student, which her teacher decided was hitting the other student! (Ms. Stein made sure that Virginia had a moment in time out for that!) So many moments that in their midst we are so often distracted that we fail to slow down and enjoy them.
And it isn’t with just our children and grandchildren that we miss so many moments. We miss too many of our own moments, moments that bring us joy, yet we fail to slow down enough to savor them. And also, moments when we are with our loved ones and know that there isn’t much time left. Instead of being present, too often we are on our phones or computers, taking care of business that could surely wait.
Moments don’t wait. One of my rare moments to slow down recently was with Virginia. I was busy cooking but went into the bedroom where Virginia was watching a show. As I passed by her she grabbed me and said, “Nana, please get in bed with me and cuddle.” Initially, I said, “Oh, Virginia, I can’t right now.”
A few minutes later I realized the importance of the moment and got in bed and cuddled with Virginia. Nothing I was doing was more important than that.
Now Virginia has graduated from preschool, leaving the kind and nurturing world of Happy Apple. Kindergarten is next, then elementary school, middle school, and high school, followed by college. As we often hear and say, “It will be here before we know it!”
I often count, thinking how old I will (hopefully) be when these transitions occur. I can’t allow my mind to consider any other possibility.
Treasure the moments, for they too soon pass.