I had this dream. The kind of dream that only mothers have. He was three years older than the age he is now—a taller, sturdier, hairier version of his current 12-year-old self. In my dream, we were at a restaurant, and I looked up across the table at him, shocked at how grown up he was. Surprised and sad that I had blinked somewhere and he was already nearly a man.
In my dream, I started having memories of various things we’d done together through the years as he grew, and I started wondering and worrying about if I’d done enough. Wondering if he was ready for this big, wide world in front of him. Longing to reverse time and have just one more day or year with him as my 12-year-old. I looked at him with a bittersweet mixture of pride and longing for what used to be.
And then, I woke up. And as I blinked the sleep away from my eyes and blinked back into the present, I breathed in a deep sigh of happy relief. He wasn’t 15 quite yet. He was still just 12. He still enjoyed being with me (most of the time). He still took my opinions into consideration (while strongly letting his own emerging opinions be made known as well). He was still young enough to be thrilled over staying up an hour later to watch a movie with me. I still had time.
I hugged him a little tighter and longer than usual that morning. I noticed how he still wasn’t quite as tall as me. How his feet were still just barely the same size as mine. How his voice wasn’t as deep and manly as it had sounded in my dream. How he still had that mischievous boyish grin and those sparkly 12-year-old eyes.
And I was just so thankful that I still had time. That the day was mine and the hurried hands on the clock hadn’t ticked by quite as fast as I’d dreamed. It brought to mind this quote from an unknown author, “Now we should live while the pulse of life is strong. Life is a tenuous thing . . . fragile, fleeting. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Be here now! Be here now! Be here now!” As someone who lives deep inside my head a lot, these words are invaluable.
Even if it seems too late, as long as our loved ones are on this earth, there’s no time like the present. We don’t have to wait until we blink. We can seize this day, this moment, with these precious ones around us. We can dream of all they’ll be, but not forget to simply live with them in the little moments.
One day, we’ll open our eyes and things will be different, and that will be okay too. Time is like a treasure chest holding these priceless people and moments we love. We hold the key and can enjoy the gifts inside today at any time. We can embrace the ones we love before the moments slip away.
And when the moments do subtly slip away, we can savor the next moments as we reminisce over the past because the future holds sweet adventures too. But the best gift of all is the present. And I’m so thankful for the gift of waking up each day to that.