Nothing Lasts Forever


When I was young, and newly in love, the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas was a big hit.I loved that song. I still love it. I love it for its harmonies, its tender thoughts, its melancholy.

I remember being a young wife, thinking, “I don’t want all of this beautiful life to simply fade into the wind! There has to be a way to make it all last!”

But you know what?  Now that I am a grandparent, I have a very different feeling about that song. I feel differently about the idea that nothing lasts forever.

Now, instead of feeling bereft at the thought, I feel comforted.

Let me try, in my limited way, to explain what I mean.

At the age of 28, I was so filled with life and new love that I thought the world must surely embrace and celebrate my feelings. I knew that I was only one tiny person in a wide world of others, but the strength and the depth of my feelings were so intense that I could not believe they would ever go away.

Then I gave birth to my first child, my perfect, most beloved, most cherished little girl. When I held her in my arms, it was impossible to me to imagine that the universe could fail to recognize the power of my love and the impossible gravity of her life. As I rocked her against my heart, I could not believe that there could exist a time in universal history when her life would not have the power to move us all.

I honestly did not believe that anyone else had ever felt this same miraculous love. I thought we were unique.

Back then, “Nothing lasts forever” was the worst thought that I could possibly hold in my head. I held myself firm against the very idea. I WOULD keep my love for my children alive! I would! I took photos, I wrote notes, I kept cards and letters and little mementos. I loved my kids so hard that I thought I had created an eternal monument of my devotion.

We were here. Our love for each other was too strong to ever fade. We mattered in the life of humanity, and I refused to believe that at some future point we might simple cease to register.

“Everything is dust in the wind….”

I hated that. Hated it.

But time has passed. Time has changed my view.

Now.

Now I have a whole different view, although it’s no less loving and embracing and proud. It is just maybe a bit more wise.

Now I understand that the love my grandparents felt for their children was every bit as intense, as strong, as deep as what I felt when I first held my own. Now I understand that the families that my grandparents created were meant to be islands of strength in a world of turmoil, but they were not ever meant to be eternal.

My maternal grandmother, my Nana, was such an important figure in my life. She was the matriarch. She was the hostess of the holidays, the provider of Sunday dinners, the center of our Italian-American existence. She was Nana. She was the center of it all, of all of the family tradition on my Mom’s side.

But when she died, I began to realize that her time in the spotlight had died, too. I mean, I still teach her recipes to my granddaughter, Ellie, but they don’t help to bring the real, true Nana into existence. Nana was the center of my Mom’s life, a huge part of my life, an important person in the lives of my children.

But Ellie doesn’t know her. Ellie and Johnny will never hear the sound of her laugh or eat a piece of apple that she sliced for them. They will never have the “Nana” experience that we have had.

Because they can’t. They shouldn’t.

Life can’t be all about the past. It can’t be a ceremony of love for those who have come before us. Life has to be about life, about this moment. It has to be about the people we hug and touch and love every day.  Life has to be about the new loves and the new families and the new memories that shape the world today.

So.

I don’t think I’ve don’t a very good job of expressing this at all, I truly don’t.

But let me end by saying that I am now happy to be “Dust in the Wind.” I know that for every day of their lives, my children will remember me and think of me with love. I know that my Ellie and Johnny will live every day of the rest of their lives knowing me and understanding my love for them.

As for their children? I hope that they grow up having heard my name and maybe a funny story or two. They don’t need to hang on to my old possessions or my faded photos.

Love goes on. Love moves from one family unit to another.

That’s just the way it should be.

Nana

Nana with her great grandson, Atticus. 

 

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12 thoughts on “Nothing Lasts Forever

  1. I appreciate your posts so much. They always ring true, and sometimes they are just what I need to hear. I’ve just become a grandmother for the first time (and after thinking, for a long time, it would never happen) and I’m overjoyed but suddenly very aware that the whole family dynamic, and my place in the scheme of things, has shifted completely. Love moves forward, igniting afresh in each new birth, in each new experience of motherhood, and those of us who are now the older generation take a step back.
    It’s humbling and wonderful at the same time. The poet, Kalil Gibran, says it so well in his poem “On Children”:
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, how beautiful!!! I had forgotten that verse! Congratulations on your new grandchild! Welcome to this wonderful village of elders. I spend a lot of time now thinking about the “next” part of my life. I find myself surprised at how happily I am stepping back and letting the young one step forward. Thank you for your lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can really relate to this, especially your description about how you felt when you were a young mother. Such intense feelings, weren’t they? I don’t have grandchildren yet, but my kids are young adults and I can see how my feelings are just as strong, but have changed. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. On the contrary, you have expressed yourself powerfully. The cycle of life is here in your story, the totally unexpected changes of attitude that come with age. We cannot imagine our future selves but we can look back and smile.

    Like

  4. Actually, you expressed yourself very well! And I completely agree: our perspective changes as we grow both older and wiser. The generations before us, who meant so much to us, are now gone. As we will be someday, too. But like you, I don’t find that idea as scary as I used to. Your post said it perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! There are so many times when I want to share what I feel, but the words keep wriggling away…I think its wonderfully comforting to be coming to terms with aging, and with the realization that actually can let ourselves relax. Nothing lasts forever!

      Liked by 2 people

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