What makes up a life? Some view a life through its banner moments, those red letter days - birthdays, graduations, weddings, deaths. Through its achievements - degrees, career, promotions - or through its material trappings, its houses, cars, or clothes.
To me, those are just the things that make life itself possible, just the backdrop for the main stage. Nice to have, yes, but they aren't a measure of a life well-lived.
Life itself is lived in the moments between the events. It is the smell of a baby's head, or that milk-drunk look they get after you've gently nursed them to sleep. It is the way your young child carefully holds your hand when you're crossing the street, or perhaps the way they don't, making you run frantically after them. The pride on an older child's face when they bring home a successful spelling test, or learn how to tie their shoes.
It isn't the grand vacation you took or the museums you saw. It's remembering the dinner you went out for while you were there, the one where you sat next to a table of very tipsy older women from Kansas City who kept asking where you'd bought your shirt (just a few blocks away) and when you thought your luggage might arrive (I haven't a clue, if I did, I probably wouldn't have gone out to buy a clean shirt).
Life isn't the college degree that hangs on your wall (or lies stuffed in your drawer), it's the course you took on American Folk Song and Ballad, the one that stayed with you years after political philosophy or statistics ever did.
Life shouldn't be about the wedding ceremony, those 5 hours that took months to plan but flew by in mere moments. It should be about the marriage that came next. All the little idiosyncrasies you grow to learn, and then to love. Or not. And yes, the moment that turned you into a parent was a seminal one, but is that really a more defining moment than all the years of day to day parenting that came next?
Life is in the little things. It sounds so simple, and yet not. Somehow we still become too busy to notice that life is speeding by while we hurry to forward to the next red square on a calendar.
Life is not the events, it's the moments in between.
I'm going to try harder to remember that.
The Writers Island prompt for this week was The Moment.