Life is definitely not passing you by…
You’ve heard the phrase, “Life is passing you by” — like you’re standing on a platform while the train of life barrels past you.
But have you ever felt the opposite — like you’re passing by your life? Like you’re on the train, whizzing past the most important moments of your life?
Two things happened this week that have me looking back with longing, aching to jump off the train and stand still in each precious moment.
I watch my two youngest children, Avery, age six, and Laela, age four, growing up so heart-breakingly fast.
I step off the train to capture snapshot moments that I want to cherish forever:
Avery, our toothless, perpetual thumb-sucker whose love language is physical touch and is constantly touching people, is trying to hold Laela’s hand.
Laela shakes her hand off. “It’s all wet.”
“I will use my dry hand,” Avery says. “The one I don’t suck.”
Laela walks around the house singing a made-up song in an exaggerated glam vibrato. I stop the train long enough to transcribe her song:
We see the light of the sun
And we are all dead
And you still have your arms
And see sad, you can go in the woods now
And no, she said, “Don’t go in the woods”
And she’s sad in the woods
To eat with your food and live with your friends
And your songs are beautiful
And your face is writing down this song on the paper
And see the life of you, beautiful
And you are so kind to me
And now you were so beautiful
And now she will be howl and kind
Now she is not going to see the life
And you were going to lead the life of your other friends
And now she’s sad, now he said, “Don’t go in the woods”
Your mother is alive and she is a guster
And you, and your mother said, “I don’t want you. Go away from your house.”
“I have a joke for you,” Avery says. “You know how we have hot dogs?”
“Well, we could make a dog hot.”
Big, toothless, crinkle-nose grin.
Yeah, I get it, baby doll. CLICK.
I look out the train window and see Laela riding her bike for the first time.
Everything else can wait. I step off the train.
Avery and Laela find a dead hummingbird and bring it to show me as I’m working in the garden. I keep working while they play with it and talk about it.
I stop the train to listen in on their conversation.
Avery wants to hold it but Laela won’t give it to her.
“I found it,” Avery says. “It’s my pet.”
“Well, I guess it’s not really a pet.”
Laela, as if this is a new revelation, says, “It could be a pet. It could be our pet forever.”
Later, out of the corner of my eye, I think I see them picking the not-yet-ripe cherries from our cherry tree.
“Don’t pick those, girls,” I say. “They’re not ready.”
“We’re not,” Avery says. “We’re just pretending that our pet hummingbird is eating them.”
The train stops for bedtime story.
We use our routine of incorporating elements requested by each child into the story. Alex says he wants stinky socks in the story. Avery says she wants the ugliest, meanest, biggest, stinkiest troll ever.
The story ends up with the socks crawling up to the troll, but the troll is so stinky that even the socks are repelled.
Avery blurts out, “Oh my gosh! That damn troll must be stinkier than those damn socks!”
Queen Karina is deep in dream sleep. The bedroom door opens, the light shines through her eyelids.
She hears the pitter-patter of Avery’s feet. Avery comes to the side of the bed and stares at her for a while.
“You’re beautiful,” Avery says, kissing Karina on the forehead before returning to bed.
I gaze through the back window of the train and can barely see these past moments in the distance:
Forgive me. I don’t mean to be self-indulgent.
It’s just that two events from this week have me thinking.
Raquel, the beautiful 15-year-old daughter of some dear friends of mine, Mike and Jenni Wilson, was diagnosed with high-grade glioma, a serious and difficult-to-treat type of cancer.
And Max, the teenage son of Andy and Natalie Goddard, was involved in a fireworks accident and sustained third degree burns on 40 percent of his body. He’s lying heavily sedated in the hospital as you read this.
My point is this: Life isn’t about a big house, a fancy car, a prestigious title, a high-paying job.
It’s about the ever-so-precious moments, which we so often take for granted. It’s about the relationships that we often neglect until it’s too late.
We spend so much time getting that we rarely take time to bask in what we have. Life doesn’t so much pass us by as we pass life by.
This week, in honor of Raquel and Max, I urge you to slow down the train. Make a greater effort to notice and enjoy the moments.
Because there will come a time when you will give everything to have just one more moment…
*Raquel Wilson passed away at the age of sixteen one year after I wrote this.