Fallen leaves. A vintage playground. Blowing up balloons. Learning how to read. What connects all of these? They are what brings pure delight into my children’s lives and what remind me that simplicity offers the greatest wealth.
If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that I can’t plan for the new year. Instead of setting goals and resolutions for 2021, I am going to aim for growth and a simpler life. Life is all too unpredictable for the luxury of assuming things will always be the same. I never thought there would come a day when I could no longer dine in a restaurant with my husband or fly back home without allowing for a two week quarantine when I got there. Yes, it’s time to identify what I truly want to do today and then do it. Tomorrow it might not be possible.
The other day we visited a vintage playground tucked away in a secluded meadow. Somehow the sunlight filtering through the fall-hued leaves caused time to pause. I felt like I was simultaneously an observer of the past, present and the future. I could vividly recall being 4 and 5 years old and I wondered where the past thirty years had gone. I realized that the meltdowns and missed naps and messy bedrooms won’t really matter thirty years from now; but I also realized that I won’t always be tucking my little ones in bed at night; one day my hand will fit inside theirs; the wonder of being able to read will become a thing of the past and there will no longer be fights over whose turn it is to sit in my lap. These thoughts lulled me into a reverent silence. My heart grieved and rejoiced and pondered.
Just as my children know what they enjoy doing and make a point of doing it, I want to do the same in 2021. I want to recognize what nourishes my soul and make ample time for that nourishment. I want to do the things that build a storehouse of memories for years to come. I want to embody the values I hope to instill in my children. I want to be less consumed with the temporary and more invested in what lasts. I want to keep a simple perspective: that all I have is today so I need to live each moment well.