When you are thinking about the fabric of your life – are you thinking about the memories and milestones in your life or the dark spots? When life is tough, it’s easy for us to concentrate on the black, bleachy spots. However, my hope is instead of concentrating on the gloom, doom, and thunderstorms life can bring, we spend more time making and concentrating on the good moments that bring butterflies to our stomach, the moments which make our insides tingle, or the special milestones in our lives. Luckily, today was one of those good memory days. Today my family lived in the bright yellows, oranges, and reds of my husband’s fabric. Today my husband hit a milestone birthday. To him, birthdays are another day, but to me today was not another day. It was a day worth remembering. It was a day worth celebrating.
Today at a surprise dinner with friends who are more like brothers than friends and a table full of family members who love my husband more than life itself, we all talked about our favorite memories with Phil. We laughed until our stomachs hurt. It was great to think of the stories which told his life. It was great to hear how Phil survived his car going into a spin, when him and his friends got in trouble for throwing crawfish, when he had to run around the school building every morning before joining class, when Phil would help his Papa for the millionth time because Granny needed one more thing at the store, etc.
Unfortunately, Phil’s and my relationship didn’t start until the second part of his life, but am glad Ryley and I are now part of Phil’s life tapestry. We’re blessed to have bought our first house together, to adopt our dog Mugsy, to go on our family vacations, and to celebrate life’s milestones. It’s times like today we can look back and say wow has life flown by. Unfortunately, most of us are on Mach speed everyday and never look back to think of how life has unfolded. Like you, I don’t get the chance most of the time to look back; however, when I do look back I can look at what I’ve learned, where I have grown, what has brought joy to my life, what’s made me laugh, how I’ve conquered barriers, how I am grateful for what I have, and the wonderful stories and memories that make up each piece of my fabric. Of course, not all of the stories are stories we want to remember, but I do believe each story is a thread in our lives. For instance, I don’t believe if the miscarriages in our marriage were avoided we would have been able to help other couples or we would have adopted Ryley. If my daughter didn’t have ADHD, I would have never learned the true meaning of patience and the importance of nonjudgement. As for Phil and I, through our marriage I’ve learned to laugh a little more, become better at finances, know tricks of the trade for better teaching my daughter, and many other attributes which makes me who I am and quite frankly a better person.
Today as I again think back on my husband and his BIG day, I can clearly visualize a group of friends who would die for one another, parents who have a glowing pride for their son, siblings and nieces and nephews who clearly think a ton of my husband, and I can see a daughter who loves her Daddy more than words could ever express. My husband had not wanted any type of celebration, but I could tell by his smile how happy he was today happened. Today my husband got to revel in why those around him think so highly of who he is. He got to remember what it was like to be a friend of Abel’s and Eric’s, a son to Pennie and George, a Dad to Ryley, etc. I believe if we never look back and we never celebrate who we are and celebrate life in general we can’t ever move forward. Of course, we should not stay in the past, but we should also never ignore or get rid of our history. Memories and milestones I believe is what keeps us going and gives our lives color and texture. It’s what some people say about gracefully aging and wrinkles. Why rid ourselves of wrinkles when wrinkles are our lines of wisdom? Why rid ourselves of birthdays or anniversaries when birthdays and anniversaries are our compass through life?
In purest form, without memories who are we? Without memories, we are basically drones flying through life. I believe without relationships and memories, we are Rumbas and robots. We learn to not crash into furniture, but are we truly living? On our death beds, it’s most likely our life celebration that will flash in front of our eyes not the gloom and doom stories such as who stole our popsicle in second grade recess. So, my question to you is what do you think you will see at the end of your life? Hopefully, unlike my husband, who originally didn’t want anything for his birthday, you see a whole lifetime of events and memories. Hopefully you see yourself sharing life stories. Hopefully, you see a life where you are enjoying the small things life has to offer such as watching birds fly, enjoying a cup of tea, building a snowman, eating a tomato from your garden, blowing out birthday candles, etc. I believe sayings such as “Smell the roses, “Life is short”, and “Live life as a glass half full vs. a glass half empty” are cliché statements because they are true statements. I also believe like me and my husband if you push someone out of the nest and make them celebrate their special days – you’ll hardly ever hear from the person: “Today was terrible.” We can all pretend to not like life celebrations, but in reality we all like to think our lives matter. Our birthdays and anniversaries are important days because God gave us life and he gave us connection. Even if we don’t relish in our own self recognition, celebrating our lives gives those around us special memories to share with us. When I think of those who I have loved and who have died, what I remember the most are the holidays, the birthdays, and the special get togethers. I feel blessed to have these special memories with those that have died as I can no longer dial up a phone and say hi. So as I am sitting here being sentimental and thinking through the events of the day, I realize what is terrible is not the greys, blacks, and browns that happen in life because we all have these threads of fabric, but what is terrible is not having or concentrating on the yellows, oranges, and reds in our fabric. What’s terrible is not creating memories where we see more yellows. Today was a good reminder to me why yellow, red, and orange days are so much more important in the fabric of our lives than the days that make us feel blue.