Our Town, by Thornton Wilder is a mainstay of high school drama departments and community theater, It tells the story of one woman, Emily Webb who died young and is given the opportunity to pick one day of her life to relive. She returns to her twelfth birthday and is at once elated to be back in the shelter of her childhood home and heartbroken at the easy way they take each other for granted, not realizing how very precious each moment, each day of their lives are.
All too often, though, just like Emily, we don’t remember to live in awareness of the moment. Our lives are just too full. If we’re not thinking ahead to the upcoming moments, things can just get out of hand. And then suddenly, the things we looked forward to so much are behind us, and we can barely remember them even happening. This is what causes older ladies to grab moms with a wailing baby, whining toddler, and first grader on the verge of a tantrum to say, “These are such wonderful years. Enjoy every single moment!” I smile when I remember hearing one young mother say “I’m trying! I just enjoy and enjoy. I hope I’m enjoying enough.” Nothing like adding a little enjoyment stress to the rest of the daily stress she faced every day.
I remember one day, one perfectly memorable day, that I had the foresight to realize was going to be important. On the surface, it was just another crazy mom-day. I’d be driving my youngest daughter and a carload of her friends to the eighth-grade end-of-year picnic, preparing tons of food for my middle daughter’s cast party that night after the final performance of Hello Dolly!, and picking up the tuxedo and corsage for my son’s senior prom. Hectic—and normal—from dawn till past midnight. But this day was different. I knew it would be the last of it’s kind. With youngest daughter going into high school, I knew this was the last field trip I would ever be called on to drive for, and with son going off to college, the last of his proms. Of course, time didn’t freeze. I went on doing mom things for years, and, in fact, am still doing them. But this was the day my role in my kids’ lives made its first permanent change. And, crazy as the day was, I did enjoy every, every minute.
Do you find that life blows past you at a speed that you can’t even see, much less enjoy? Or have you found a way to slow things down a bit, to live more in the moment? Can you share your secret?