Sometimes my words go unsaid. The words bounce from side to side in my brain for a text that I forget to send or a thank you card that has every intention of getting written but gets lost in the chaos of life. I find myself nursing a sleepy baby at 2 am and my heart is totally warm and happy at the thought of a friend who remembered us when cleaning out her classroom. Or I’m on the drive home from a recent doctor’s appointment and I am consumed by the thought of how lucky I am to have such an amazing doctor, confidante and friend and I tell myself that as soon as I get home I’m going to write a sincere heartfelt thank you card to thank her for all she does. Then I get home and I get caught up in the whirlwind of life and that thank you card goes unwritten. My words are left floating through my brain with no anchor to hold them down.
But sometimes it’s the words I meant to say when the people were here that I didn’t take the time to say and now I don’t get to say that haunt me the most. It’s the stories I’ve never heard because I’m always in a hurry…always too busy to stop and just listen. I’d love for just one moment to tell my grandma that I love her. Just as she is. That she’s beautiful. I’d ask her questions and I’d really listen. Oh how I’d love to soak up the wisdom of lessons learned. How I wish I could spend one more afternoon with my dear friend Amanda and tell her all the things you assume your friend already knows like how amazing she is and how funny she is and how she pulled you up out of a funk every.single.time you felt down. And how lucky she is because she’s clearly loved and adored by her parents.
Sometimes I imagine I only have a short time left and I think if I knew that, what would I do? Would I spend the time updating finances, finishing a book, tackling an unfinished project? Would I clean the closets? Reorganize the cupboards? Of course not. I’d soak up the people around me. Every.single.detail. I’d lose myself in the depths of my children’s big eyes. I’d listen…really listen…to every story they come up with, every tale they invent. I’d tell myself the laundry can wait. The dishes will still be there when I’m done. I’d snuggle with Daxson. I’d breathe him in and memorize that moment. I’d let his strength pull me along. Because, of course, if it is the moments that are left then I’d see those moments in a whole new light and drag each one out as long as possible.
But what if I don’t have to wait for some prognosis of doom to live that way? What if I could learn the art of “just being” right now? In reality, ditching all my responsibilities to only revel in the people around me would be highly impractical…after all, I have a duty to provide for my family by cooking and cleaning and schooling and laundry but what if that idea to really soak up the people around me took precedence over the never-ending to-do list? Because I’m pretty sure, as a Type-A perfectionist, I tend to flip the priorities. I only half listen as a child tells me a long complicated story because while he’s talking, my brain is mentally reviewing the to-do list. (What? You too? So that’s how you agreed to take your kid toy shopping in the middle of the week…yep, I’ve done it too.) By the end of the day, I’m exhausted. The introvert in me is begging for peace and quiet and so I quietly slip away to bed, book in hand and completely bypass a conversation with Daxson.
My goals are not lofty. I know that the well meaning thank you card probably still won’t get sent and I’m sure that there will always be a text left unfinished, but that idea to stop what I’m doing and look my people in the eye and really listen with my heart is completely within my grasp. The idea of asking a simple question (and actually wanting to know) and then waiting for the answer is so uncomplicated. It’s a matter of shifting my priorities.