As I look back on my past there really aren't too many things I'd go back and do differently. Even stuff that didn't turn out so well was worthwhile in the learning it offered.
But if I had it to do over, there is one thing I'd change. I would have taken the time to get to know my parents as people, not just parents.
This specifically applies to my mom. She died 10 years ago today, so I'm thinking about her, and how I was so absorbed in my own little life that I never really stepped back to see and know her as the lively person she was, beyond being my mother.
This realization didn't hit me until after she died. As I sifted through old records and memorabilia she had kept, I discovered all sorts of things about her. The headaches her feistiness gave her grade-school teachers. The leadership positions she took in college. The letters she inspired from a lovestruck suitor (before meeting my dad), how many friends and colleagues valued her support and professional mentoring.
And how well attuned she was to living in and appreciating the moment. I missed that during her lifetime, too, so here I am, learning about that from a dog instead.
But I do at least have those letters, and so on this anniversary of her passing I will share one of them here. It's a note she enclosed in Christmas cards to faraway family and friends several years earlier, before she became sick.
Here's what she wrote:
On the whole, this has been an interesting year:
* Beautiful sunrises and sunsets that can only be fully seen in the country.
* My first falling star, like a Fourth of July rocket.
* My first hearing of an owl in the middle of the night.
* Our joy at our marigolds volunteering up out of the soil too wet to spade and flowering through a dry summer. And I don't even like marigolds.
* And we made it so far!
A pretty nice year in review, don't you think?
In the few remaining minutes before bedtime I believe I will rouse Mr. James from his snoring nap, take him for a walk, and together we can watch the night sky in search of falling stars.
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