We’re driving. The road, a seemingly endless stretch of gray in front of us. There’s certainly not much to see on either side. And I am bemoaning to the Boy the fact that all the leaves have fallen off the trees. It had been so pretty, I say to him, just a week or so ago. And now they’re gone.
It’s the rare afternoon that he and I can share the time together- he being busy with other more interesting boy-ish things. Me, being the Mama- fully divided in fifty ways or more. But today, it’s just us. And we are driving home together. No loud voices competing for attention in the back. No radio blaring. No screams of delight or agony from the Peanut Gallery. Just the quiet voices of a Boy and his Mama casually sharing an October afternoon.
Earlier, I watched him with his school soccer team as they kicked-off to start the game. They would later bring home the bronze for their school in a victorious finish to a great season. But at this moment: I am just watching, listening and absorbing it all. Taking in this moment of my life- just me and my boy.
And while I drive, I think back to that chat I had with a Mom sitting next to me on the bleachers just a few short hours ago- about this and that and nothing of any real importance. And I remember how it came up in conversation that she has only one child at home now. All her’s are grown, she said to me. To which I told her I am not looking forward to that time- I am not ready yet for nearly empty nest. And she assured me ‘it’s all good’ and that when the time comes I will be glad there are no dirty dishes in the sink waiting to be washed. Glad there isn’t a heap of dirty laundry clogging up my washing machine.
But I didn’t buy this line at that moment and I still don’t now. I’m not ready for all that. I’m still here. And so is he. And we are driving a gray stretch of pavement on a Saturday afternoon in mid-October and I can’t think of one other place I’d rather be. A mom with too much to do on a Saturday afternoon who still has all the time in the world for her boy. How much longer will I have this luxury?
And as I casually remark that I wish there were more leaves to see as we drive passed this wooded lot, the Boy says to me: “If you just stop focusing on what’s close up and look farther down the road, you’ll see that it really is quite pretty.”
And I know that he’s right- it’s all a matter of perspective. And it’s not about how beautiful the leaves were last week or how dreary they might be right now, or even how gorgeous they will be again next year: it’s about perspective. Seeing what’s around us in the moment we are living. It’s about noticing. And not wishing for yesterday or tomorrow, but holding on to today. It’s about realizing that what is passed is now gone but tomorrow is soon on its way. It’s about holding on to what we have today: right now. And there’s nothing like it. That gift of the present.
I stop my lament for the leaves then. I stop looking for beauty and see that I already have it within reach.
And I lean back and enjoy the ride.