We are visiting with several generations of family this week. I'm enjoying all the stages of life, from my grandson at 22 months, who is just learning to communicate, my daughter and son-in-law with all of the stresses and fun of a new family, and my youngest, fresh out of college. We are in the mix, grandparents who are semi-retired due to the worst economy in our lifetime.
My grandson is the glue. He keeps everyone entertained and always hopeful. He is a joy to be around. We all adore him, and he responds in kind. My youngest is looking for new roommates, more in line with the things she likes to do. We bore her with our staying home at night and lack of enthusiasm for music festivals and bluegrass.
My older daughter and son-in-law, on the other hand, find grandparents very useful. Having a built-in babysitter, and others willing to entertain said grandson is valuable. Never to be underestimated. Freeing.
We are also visiting my mother-in-law, recently widowed and 97 years old. She lives in a lovely retirement home, but as she becomes more fragile, we are waiting for that time when we will move her from her small apartment to assisted living. That time may be very soon.
We are in the post-mid part of our life. Young enough to enjoy it, and old enough to know better than to take it for granted. We watch friends our own age struggle with life-threatening illnesses, and we know that for this moment in time we are blessed. Our family intact, our health stable. But we are also sandwiched, like so many of you. Aging parents, children struggling to get a foothold in life.
All the life stages. All with beauty and uncertainty.
I guess that's what it's all about. Enjoying the ride. It careens right along, sweeping us up, moving us along, and eventually it puts us down. It's the sweet moments, the sunsets, the laughs, the kisses, that make it all worthwhile. A good reminder to pay attention to those moments. When all is said and done, it's our memories and the things we paid attention to that will determine a life well-lived ... or not.