The past few days have a been a test, my mid-term/mid-life exam of learning to stay in the present. As you may have guessed, I am pretty good at getting caught up in the reflective and I am a pretty good day dreamer, too. But when life is uncomfortable, it is so easy for me to long to be else where. I try to find the grace in the moment. And even if I can see it and feel it, the exhaustion of the constant trying makes me want to run back in time to old friends and places. This week there were lots of reminders of “we just get today”…a friend of Chris’s had a heart attack, our old community said goodbye to a young girl from brain cancer and they were hurting, my sister in law’s friend’s breast cancer is back and I so wish I could take away the worry and sorrow, a nasty divorce where children are being used as pawns and wasting so many todays just infuriates me. It adds up and becomes overwhelming even though I am not directly effected. My life didn’t change dramatically, but I don’t ever want to take those lessons in vain.
Yet I am human and especially when I am worn out, I tend to lose sight. I am grateful to come here and try to see again.
Yesterday day was Halloween. After some drama of who was going to be where when and all of the silly energy of miscommunication, I finally surrendered and let the night just unfold. My two older boys are at the point where they want to go off with their friends and to the bustling neighborhoods. My friend and neighbor graciously escorted a herd of boys all over northern Fort Collins. So Chachi and I took off through our quiet, dark neighborhood. Most of the homes here have older people who built here 40 years ago. They were so happy to see his sweet face swaddled in black velvet as he practically whispered trick or treat. No longer were his big brothers there to do the talking for him. No longer were we in a pack of friends and family. I felt guilty as I longed for the days of our big extended family dressed in theme meandering in our tree lined neighborhood of Colorado Springs. The night full of laughter and generations all taking turns visiting with one another. Now the boys wouldn’t dream of doing a theme with us…. I might have to resort to bribery one of these years! How are they growing up so quickly?
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine said she wanted a “do over” of last Halloween. True it was great fun, but I remember thinking at the time there are no “do overs.” If only there were “do overs!!!!” We all know we only get today once, but that doesn’t make it always easy to use each day wisely and well. And that is exactly what I wasn’t doing as Charlie and I set out last night. I was feeling sad missing those days… wanting a do over.
But then I watched the faces light up when my son whispered his trick or treat, enjoyed the nice few minutes I got to spend talking to our neighbors because I wasn’t in a group and soaked up the pure joy in Charlie’s voice for yet another piece of candy received. I realized this is exactly where I needed to be. We wandered through the dark, hand in hand. Not often do I get to focus my attention on just one son. I realized for the first time in a week, I felt relaxed. I walked at his pace, let him choose which houses he dared to go ring the bell and we even got to soak up the stars as we went past the greenbelt. I will always be grateful for that time with just him. Trick was on me! It was a real and wonderful treat!
Later we met up with my sister and her family. Chachi now had his cousin Will to run up to doors with. They suggested that we head to old town and walk along the main street. It was just what I needed. Treelined, sidewalks full of leaves, fun people to watch, fantastic decorations and children running everywhere! We returned home where the other two showed up with crazy amounts of candy and sat in the living room swapping stories and inhaling tons of sugar! I was grateful there wasn’t a do over. The moment was perfect as it gets and I look forward to being tricked again next year!