Slice of Life: Holding on to the Moment

Sometimes it’s hard to find that feeling of accomplishment.

There are moments that have that quality, but most of the time I’m on the road and I’m not there yet. I get distracted, sidetracked, lost. The path I choose can get blocked and I have to turn around.  Even in the best cases, the feeling of completion happens infrequently. When I’m in the midst of it, it can seem like I’m not getting anywhere.

Over the last few weeks, there were moments when I had a glimmer of accomplishment.

Prior to my daughter’s week at camp, we went to the mall, to do what she loves, shop.

I may have created a bit of this monster in this department. When you have two boys and then a girl, the compulsion to dress them up doesn’t set forth a good model. Perhaps it would have happened regardless of my actions, but her passion for consumption, her pursuit of the sale and her rather ingenious moves to get a clothes she wants is relentless.

The mall can feel like a death march, looking for the just right pair of shoes to go with the dress, which needs to go with something else. But this time, we walked out of the mall in less than an hour.  No shopping bags and no complaints. In the car, I take this moment in and drive home.

On Saturday, I picked her up from Y camp where she spent the week as a volunteer counselor. Eight days, seven nights. She’s been a camper since she was eight, but this time she was in charge.

Before I set eyes on her, I heard about it from other counselors. Apparently she was assigned a rather challenging group of middle school girls.

I waited. I knew she was there, waiting with her “kids” until their parents picked them up.

The crowd of parents and children lessened. The piles of luggage and sleeping bags that lined the parking lot diminished. Finally up she walks, tanned and tired. She hugs me and lays her head on my shoulder. I steal a kiss and take that moment in, holding it close.

On the way to our car, advisors and counselors hug her. We walk on, and I look back, making eye contact with her director. I wave goodbye.

She returns the wave and says, “You have raised a really great kid.”

“Thank you!”  My daughter looks at me, and I say, “I know.”

I take that moment, drape my arm over my daughter’s shoulder and hold her close.

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers blog for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday. Read more slices and share your own slice here.

Slice of Life: Holding On

This weekend was hard. It was hard for my kids to see their grandfather slip away.

Sitting in that room, gathered around they see glimmers of their papa. He rallies for a moment then goes back to sleep. My son rubs his eyes and puts his head down. My daughter looks at him, her eyes red and swollen. She holds his hand. There is no hiding the fact that recovery isn’t possible.  The road has been long; the deterioration has been slow.  The fact that they can’t reach him hits them hard.

Walking out to our cars, saying our goodbyes, my son stands at the gate, frozen. I hug him, holding back tears, willing myself not to cry, trying to be strong.

My daughter leans in; wipes her face on my shoulder unafraid to hold on and not let go.

My husband’s silly joke makes it possible to walk out the gate and go on.  What a gift he gives us by lightening the load with a laugh.

Seeing a person slip away, you can’t help but wonder, where’d they go. Are they there and we just can’t see them?

The hospice nurse says this is a part of the process, which doesn’t answer any questions that are swirling around us.

We go home and hold our breath waiting and wondering. Holding on and holding back.

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers Blog for a space to share ourselves as writers and teachers of writing. Read more slices here.