We went to brunch this morning to celebrate my son-in-law’s birthday, taking our baby grandson with us. The little guy did great, spending most of the time either sleeping or snuggling quietly on my shoulder, staring in wonder at the activity around us. It was one of the nicest brunches I’ve had in a long time. The food and company were great, of course. But what really made me happy was the chance to just sit there with my family, holding my infant grandson. And I wanted to savor every minute of it, because I know that babies don’t stay babies for very long and that far too soon, he’s going to be too big to drape so perfectly over my shoulder.
I am not, and never have been, particularly good at “living in the moment.” I tend to put off doing the things that I could be doing, and even the things that I really want to do, until later, when I’m not quite so busy. Or tired. Or stressed. Or whatever other excuse I have come up with for not fully appreciating what, and who, I have in my life right now, at this very moment. And by doing so, I am counting on a future that is in no way guaranteed.
Life can change in an instant, both for the better and for the worse. And all we can really count on is the here and now. So it is actually rather important that we make each and every day count, as much as we possibly can.
For me, that means holding my grandson while he’s still small enough to let me, even if the food on my plate gets a little cold while I do so. Or putting him in his stroller and taking him for a walk on a warm spring day, even when I have dozens of unfinished chores on my to-do list. It even means taking even a few minutes to actually play the piano I insisted on buying a few years ago, rather than just vowing to find the time play whenever I dust it.
Making my day count may mean calling that friend I haven’t talked to in ages, or reaching out to mend a rift that threatens a once close relationship. It may mean making a healthy choice for my next meal, or going for a brisk walk even if the weather isn’t perfect. It may mean trying something I’ve always wanted to do, even if I’m afraid I will fail miserably. The important thing is that I do it today. Not tomorrow, because tomorrow may not come, for me or for someone I love.
Ever since my father died, I have made it a point to call my elderly mother several times a week. Somewhere along the line, we began ending our phone calls with the words, “love you.” We were never the sort of family who said that very often, and it was a little awkward at first. But now it’s a habit, and a good one at that. Because there is no better time to tell someone you love them than today.