I remember thinking as a teenager, "Wow, you're going to be thirty-six when the year 2000 comes along. That's pretty old." I was a little bit frightened of being that old.
Thirty-six. That sounds so young now. Practically a baby.
If you have done the math, you have figured out that I'm turning fifty this year.
The big five-O. Half a century.
That is cray-cray.
My mom died when she was fifty. And the closer I get to that birthday, the more I find myself thinking about her.
How young she was when she died. Because even though I may be fifty years old on the outside - on the inside I feel twenty-five. When she died, she seemed so much older to me. I wish I knew how young she really was.
At fifty, I am just getting to know my children as adults. I love spending time with them. They are funny, they are compassionate AND passionate, they love to share their opinions, and they have wonderful friends - they are just so full of life that they make ME feel alive. I am thankful for this time. And find myself thanking God each and every morning for another day on this earth to have with them.
I did not get that chance with my mom. She was ill for a few years before she passed away so her life, and my dad's life, was centered around her treatments and her well-being. We didn't get to have that time to find out who each other was in our new identities as the mother of an adult child and an adult child.
Instead, I was off with my friends and going to classes and working. I'm ashamed to say I did not make a lot of time to spend with my parents during that time. That's the biggest regret of my life - that I didn't make more time for her in my "busy" life. Those friends I spent time with? Not a part of my life now. Friends come and go, some are here longer than others but they change as life changes. Classes ended. Work shifted and drifted to other jobs. But family? They are for always. They are forever.
If I'd only known how little time I was going to have left with her, I like to think I would have valued it more and spent more of it on her. With her. Beside her.
I'm trying to do it right this time around. Now I'm the mother with adult children finding myself redefining my relationships with J and K.
Not a day goes by in which I do not tell the two of them and the Man just how much I love them, how much I enjoy their company. They're busy, just as they should be, but they make time for the Man and I. J and I will go out to breakfast or lunch together, and K and I go shopping, or out to eat, or get pedicures together. They know how I feel about not having that time with my mom and how important it is to spend time with the ones you love.
Spending time. An appropriate phrase. Because more time is what I want right now. More than money, more than travel, more than anything else this world tells me is important. Time. How valuable it is. And I find myself resenting the careless way I treat it sometimes. The careless way I spend it.
I know that at the end of life, I won't be wishing I had spent more time with friends, or with colleagues at work, or pursuing all kinds of outside interests. No, I think at the end of life, I'll be wishing I had more time with my family - husband, children, parents, sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles. All of them.
So that's my goal for the next fifty years - to spend more time with the ones I love the most. Not to let life get so "busy" that days and weeks pass before I connect with my loved ones. I want to be better at calling to chat with those who live far away, and stopping in to see older family members. I want to make time to travel to see siblings who live farther away.
I want to share more meals with my dad.
I want to spend more time with my sisters. I'm tired of life pulling us all in separate directions.
I want to savor every moment with my husband and my children.
Because we are not promised tomorrow and I don't want any more regrets in my life.