October 26, 2023
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
As I turned the page on my planner to look ahead to November (yes, I still use a paper planner! haha!) this quote caught my attention. Usually I skim ahead, rushing feverishly to write down a particular event before it slips out of my mind, but today I was caught off guard by the gentle reminder of time. How easily we are deceived into thinking that the moment we are in can stretch on. How our lives can ebb and flow as rituals and patterns tumble over each other. Dotted amongst the mundane are the highs and lows but for the most part the whirr of life purrs on in the background as we go about our days.
We plan vacations and holidays. We look forward to visiting friends and traveling to see family. We see plays, watch movies, spend an afternoon dipping our toes in the sand on a hot summer afternoon and chase after our kids as they run off in search of the best pumpkin in the patch. Some moments we plan, some just happen. Some we treasure and some pass us by without us even realizing it.
I love the sweetness of this reminder. Dr. Seuss points out that all moments can have exceptional value when they turn into a memory. And sometimes the simplest of moments become unexpected treasured memories. At the time, I didn’t fully recognize the value of my tiny daughter’s hand. Her precious baby fingers curled around mine. Now her hands are those of a big kid and even though I still love holding her hand, it is no longer the tiny fingers that used to grip mine. Or the baby girl voice calling me Mommy. Time gradually grew both of us up, changing me from a brand new mom to a veteran and my baby to a teenager.
The last time I had a conversation with my Dad was on the back porch overlooking a summer mountain sky. A slight breeze was rolling in and the air temperature was starting to drop. I remember desperately not wanting the moment to end. To stay on that porch and talk even as evening was creeping in. To tell him my big dreams. To share the concerns in my heart. To hold his hand in mine. To somehow forget the cancer and the weakness. Looking back, I would have done anything to stay in the moment when I still believed he was going to get better and put those six years of disease in the rearview.
A year later, I now know that would be our last conversation. Before life in the hospital would begin and his voice would be taken. When his body would finally be free from suffering and the arms of Jesus would carry him home. I have had millions of conversations with my Dad. He was a big talker. Nothing brought him more joy than a glass of wine and good company. Of all those conversations spanning 39 years, the one on the porch is the memory I will treasure.
Dr. Suess reminded me today to be on the lookout. The potential for precious memories are all around us tucked into the nooks and crannies of daily life. That normal does not necessarily mean ordinary and sometimes it is what we find the most mundane to be the best memory of all.