Sometimes it is right to think in cliches. Sometimes those tired old adages are all that you can really say.
Dance while you can.
Its later than you think.
Live. Laugh. Love.
Most of the time, life just trips along in all its mundane beauty. Work, laundry, groceries, bills. Lesson plans, meetings, unruly students, rainy weekends, chips in the paint. Most of the time, I can fall into griping and moaning with the best of them. My dogs keep getting out of the fence! My kids don’t call as often as I want them to! My head aches, my shoes pinch, my class won’t line up when I tell them to.
Most of the time, I slip and I slide through the weeks, without really giving thought to the miracle that is my own undeserved good luck. I lose myself in the minutiae of everyday life, forgetting to savor the moments that make up that life.
This month has been a wake up call. The news from friends and relatives who are suddenly face to face with their own mortality and that of their loved ones has forced me to look in the mirror and to reassess. That news has pushed me to look past the wrinkles in that mirror, past the age lines and the extra weight. It has made me look into the eyes that are looking back, to see the happy, loving family around me and give thanks. My children are healthy, happy, and having the time of their lives. And they still love each other and us.
I look in the mirror and see the laughter lines around my eyes, and remind myself that so many of them were given as gifts by the children I have been teaching for so many years. The unexpected puns, the moments of shared laughter, the incredibly funny faces when I try to make a joke; all of these have given me the happiness lines that show now on my face.
I look deep into the mirror, and somewhere inside the face that looks back, I see the eager young bride who won the love of the good man who is my husband. I see our young selves, dreaming and planning and hoping for the future.
I turn from the mirror to look at the life I live today, and I am filled with the quiet joy of knowing that those dreams and plans are here all around me.
I know that life is fragile and fleeting. I am so saddened by the losses and terrible challenges faced by my friends and family.
And I am determined to find a way to tell myself, every single day, that life is short. I have to dance while I can.
With love and prayers for Meg, Uncle Bob, Mary and Libby.