Life has been a little heavy in this space the past few weeks.
Personally speaking, a lot of this year has found people we love and care for faced by life challenges. It’s funny how the weight of someone else’s life can affect your own. The longing for things to be better for them again. The helpless feeling of not having the right words or anecdote to bring lightness and laughter.
Prior to the print of last week’s paper I had this week’s topic at the forefront of my brain. Just one problem … more heaviness. Welcome to the real world right? Not always sunshine, rainbows and butterflies no matter how hard we work to create them.
Then I remembered a favorite quote a friend sent me years ago, “If you want to be happy, just be.”
The funny thing is, I wasn’t unhappy, quite the contrary. Amidst all the heaviness I found myself feeling grateful for things more than ever before. My words however, the ones I opted to share here – heavy.
So as I looked to the week ahead, I promised myself this would not be a heavy week of reading for the three people who enjoy my life marvels in this simple newspaper section.
This past weekend I took a few days to slow down a bit and let life in, sit still and simply connect with those I love, laughter and myself.
There was no big elaborate trip, fancy dinner or flashy night out on the town. The joy I found came from the most simplest of places.
A few hours spent in a vegetable garden with my pup and some butterflies while my kids were at school. A sunset in the good company of the man I love, few words, lots of smiles and a few deep sighs. A late Friday night dinner filled with so much laughter and story telling that one course of the meal remained long forgotten on the smoker until the next morning.
That memory alone still brings a smile to my face. I mean how relaxed, at ease and joy filled can a group of people be that they actually forget the food during dinner – that’s blessed. That’s a good life, indeed.
Waking Saturday morning I felt lighter. The heaviness of so many that I love is still very much there, so I pray, shoot a text or make a phone call – but I choose joy. That sounds odd, which I recognize. Saturday morning, however, as I woke smiling recalling the evening of joy I had the night before, I felt fortunate. The simplest of pleasures can and do leave the largest impact on one’s life. It’s about more than the moments; it’s about the memories. Just as the quote shares we choose happy, we also choose outlook.
The circumstances are the circumstances and we must go forward.
During that weekend I also recognized that I have two aging children who won’t be sharing car space with me much longer. In short, my taxi days are running short – I’m not real ready for that.
The funny thing I’ve come to learn about teen years is that they are the most trying as well as the most critical. They are a time when our children are testing their wings and we must trust we’ve led them well for flight. They are also a time when they may drive us mad, yet we want to be in their company as much as possible. It’s a dizzying mess of an emotional time.
Hearing my son laugh with a friend and my daughter giggle with her bestie over the weekend filled my soul with joy. Those sounds aren’t as abundant as they once were as each of them spends time away with friends or in their room. I love that sound.
In short, I love this life I’ve been given. It’s truly a bit of an unpredictable mess more times than not, but it’s one filled with laughter, love and great memories. Just like the mule ride I took this past weekend, in some moments it’s a bit faster than I care for. Then there are moments I can’t wait to see what’s beyond the darkness. Ultimately when the brakes are hit and the stillness ensues it’s fun to be a bit tousled and shaken and recognize the gift of being alive. Thank you God.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.