Monday, September 14, 2009
Sometimes it takes a lifetime to get perspective.
Sometimes it takes one phone call.
I started my morning, as I have every morning lately, going through my list of "to do's". Just sitting at my desk ignites stress. The piles, the post-its. What did I forget? What more do I have to do? The lists are endless, boundless petri dishes for my type-A tendencies.
And as the date of my daughter's Bat Mitzvah draws closer, I find myself forgetting about the joy and significance of this milestone and focusing more on the expectation. The obligation.
With one call, with one distressed voice on the other end of the line, that changed.
Because of the event, I am in touch with family members I rarely speak to. All of them live out of town. Many of them are elderly. And I have suddenly been given a glimpse into their daily world.
I called one of them this morning, expecting a conversation of details and chit-chat and instead encountered a woman who was pre-occupied, impatient, and not the least bit interested in talking about my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. It turns out her husband had spent the night in the E.R. and she was, at that moment, preparing to take him back to the hospital. She was worried. She was scared.
We spoke briefly. I wished them both well and we hung up.
I felt bad about the phone call. Bad that her husband was not well. And bad that I had stirred up so much anxiety for myself over a Bat Mitzvah. I felt petty. Shallow. Small.
I thought about them a lot, and other relatives/friends of ours from their generation. About how so many of their lives now center around doctors' appointments, trips to the pharmacy, the hospital.
I thought that as much as I muse about mid-life and lament about turning 50, I am totally clueless about what it's like to actually be OLD.
Cherish the moments.
Celebrate the milestones.
I hear people say these things all the time but I never feel they apply to me. I'm too busy supermarket shopping, cleaning, carpooling, living my daily life, to make a big deal out of things like birthdays and anniversaries. It's nice for other people and I love being a part of their celebrations... I guess I just thought there'd always be time.
And hopefully there will be.
But with this one phone call, I began to wonder, "Why not start now?"
So, for today, I will be grateful for the stress and the chaos that this celebration brings.
And grateful for the loved ones and friends who will be here to share it with us.
Because while a Bat Mitzvah may not be a matter of life and death, it is very much a matter of LIFE.
And, you can bet, we're going to celebrate the shit out of it.
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