Monday, September 17, 2012

Life Is A Vapor: How To Slow Down Time

Life Is A Vapor:
How To Slow Down Time

My friend posted about her daughter’s fifth birthday the other day and wrote this in her facebook status: “Time is a vapor, friends. Enjoy it. It's flying by”.  As I read her words, I listened to my almost three year old son chattering away with his big sister in full sentences and thought about how often these days he says, “I do myself, mommy!

Then, I saw my just-turned-four-years-old-going-on-fourteen daughter dancing through the living room singing to the beat of her own drum.  She is learning to write her ABC’s, knows how to pick out the perfect outfit for the day, and surprises me with how well she can carry on a conversation with me or my husband.  

And wasn’t it just yesterday that I first held them in my arms?

I call them my babies, but, really, they are far from the helpless newborn babes I cradled in my arms and rocked to sleep night after night.  As my facebook wall is flooded with back to school photos, I realize that this time next year we will be sending our oldest off to kindergarten...and before we know it her daddy will be walking her down the aisle into the arms of a man she will one day call husband.  

I find myself stumbling through another busy day when all I want to do is plead with time to slow down for just one moment more.  How do you slow down the vapor of time and take captive every single moment before it’s gone?  

We are each given a mission, a purpose, a calling in life.  Children are a gift and moms are called to love, cherish, nurture, and provide for these little ones while gently nudging them to spread their wings and one day soar on their own.  Embrace this calling, because it is beautiful and to be treasured.  

The dishes may be piled high, the laundry may be cycling through the wash for the third time in a row, and five o’clock may roll around with absolutely no dinner plans already in place, but if your children are content in your love that is what matters.  

And, really, the dishes, laundry, and endless to do lists will be there tomorrow, but your children may not.  Time keeps moving forward and one day the little one tugging on your pants while you attempt to fold the same shirt for the tenth time this morning will be an adult.  The house will be quiet again, but you will miss the noise and chaos of a childhood gone by too soon.  

The sound of my son’s sweet little voice singing Jesus Loves Me drifts my way.  I’ve sung this song to him since birth and still I am amazed at how well he knows every single word so clearly.  I still picture him in my dreams as the son who arrived three weeks early with lungs that weren’t quite ready to breathe in this world.  And yet, there he is, singing loud and clear a song that melts my heart.  

In just one month, our littlest peanut is due to arrive.  Newborn onesies, sleepers, hats, booties, and swaddle blankets are gently washed and carefully folding waiting for his arrival.  I find myself reminiscing about how quickly my oldest two swept through the newborn stages right into childhood.

This time I want to slow down time more, to embrace each little moment, captured not just in photos and blog posts and facebook statuses, but in my memory of moments disconnected from technology where I am fully present in the here and now.  When his hunger cries force me to stop what I’m doing immediately, I will scoop him up with a smile and watch every smile and study every wrinkle and roll in his tiny little body.  

Because time really is a vapor and one year really does fly by.  So embrace it, enjoy it, cherish it, treasure it.  Babies really don’t keep, so rock that little one to sleep a little longer, laugh and sing along with just one more silly song, hug him a little tighter, hold her a little closer, and give every single moment all you’ve got.  



Stephanie blogs at Girl of Grace, a blog about family, marriage, motherhood, and grace.  To read more of her story and follow along as she continues learning to embrace her calling, check out her blog or join her facebook page.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The "Meat" of the Sandwich Generation

The “Meat” of the Sandwich Generation

It’s common that Baby Boomers are referred to as the Sandwich Generation ~ taking care of elderly parents and kids/grandkids at the same time.  You could say that it’s being the “meat” of the sandwich.

Those of us who have done it probably wouldn’t change a thing, especially if we’ve lost our parents.  I have.  Even though it was very rewarding, I’d have asked a thousand more questions.  Why did you live there?  Who was your best friend growing up?  Why do my kids act like that?  Did I act like?  Did you ever make the news?  What is something you don’t want to tell me that I should know?  You get the idea.

Since I didn’t get the chance or know what to ask, here are five questions every adult child should consider asking their aging parents, while they still have a chance.

Where in the world did you live?  Most of us don’t relate to our parents as being real people until we are older.  But our parents actually had a life and adventures before they had kids and after the kids left home.  After our parents are deceased, finding and getting information about that part of their life becomes very difficult.  And you will need to know about it.

What other names did you use?  I’m always surprised at how many kids didn’t know their mother was married before, sometimes more than once. Domestic partners, adoptions, absentee fathers, marriages, divorces, and other circumstances can make records difficult to get when they aren’t your own or you don’t know what to look for.  Find out where copies are.

Where might you have hidden papers or money?  Some parents don’t want to tell their kids this because of family dynamics.  In some cases that may be true.  However, if you have a good relationship, explain how important it is to know where bank accounts are, where jewelry is, if they bought a life insurance policy, where are important papers, and where they hide cash.  It takes much longer to search and rescue items than just rescue them.

Is there anyone you want me to contact after you’re gone?  My father had the opportunity to call people before he died “just to say goodbye.”  It was fun listening to him make these calls because there was no pretense about it. Only meaningful words were exchanged. If your parents don’t get this opportunity, it may be important to them that you do it.

Is there anything you want to do with me now?  The most important thing you have is time.  At the end of your parents’ life it’s rewarding to have great memories of time spent together. My father asked me to read him some of my favorite bible verses.  I read Hebrews 11.  It’s now an annual ritual on his birthday which is also his deceased day.  I look forward to it!

So, while you are busy chauffeuring kids to practice, making lunches, visiting your parents, spending time with your spouse, running errands, cleaning house, running a company, doing laundry, seeing friends, shopping, sleeping and eating, remember that even though you are the meat of the sandwich, you should always take time to leave the bread alone and keep the main thing the main thing.

Tisha M Diffie
Estate Closure Expert