My Uncle Bobby passed away this week. Daddy's younger brother.
Like Daddy and the other men in his family, Uncle Bobby had suffered from heart and vascular problems for years, but it was a slow battle with cancer that took him away. He was a sweet man. In my heart I will always see him smiling, ready to laugh about something.
That's him in the photo below, wearing my sister's wig, flanked by his son, Jeff, and yours truly, the Tomboy in ripped jeans.
I'm grateful that I got to speak to Uncle Bobby a few times recently and assure him of my love and prayers. He called often to check on Daddy after his surgery. I'm glad they got to speak to each other, too.
Jeff stopped by my parents' house on my mom's birthday with a satchel full of old photo albums he'd found at his parents' house that had belonged to our aunt and grandmother. We opened them and stepped back into the years when we were oblivious to time.
When you're young, you can't imagine standing where your parents stand. You never dream that someday you'll be one of those pillars holding up the family, trying to help make decisions about things you had been happily oblivious to just months before.
Now time is tick, tick, ticking in my head. I feel the weight of it on my shoulders. I see, more than I ever did when I first became a mother, that circle of life, and I know that one day my kids will be taking my place as the pillars.
But I remind myself that, if my kids are as blessed with oblivion as I have been, that time is still years away, and that I need to live each of these days, these years, to the fullest, just as my parents still do, to the best of their abilities.
I can't let the tick-ticking or the weight on my shoulders keep me from noticing blessings like cool old red trucks on display along the highway...
I pass Timeless Texas Classics on my way to and from Houston. Usually I travel too early or too late, and it's locked up. The old cars are tucked safely to bed up near the building.
But this past Wednesday the gate was open and these beauties were lined up close to the road. They smiled and waved at me, but I drove on by, in a hurry and too caught up in all I needed to do once I got home.
Then I realized the gift of the moment and made a U-turn. I spent several minutes walking up and down, snapping their photos, relishing that bit of suspended time.
Old cars and trucks make me smile - especially old trucks painted cherry red like the beauty above. And when you're a pillar - no, especially when you're a pillar - you need to do things that make you smile.
It really made me smile to hang out with a bunch of twenty-somethings that same night in honor of my soon-to-be daughter-in-law's 25th birthday.
It was a little over six years ago when Tommy went to a friend's cousin's high school graduation party and fell in love. It's hard to believe Kirby was just eighteen when we first met her (and fell in love with her, too.)
I love that all of my kids are living in Austin now, close enough to wish them happy birthdays in person.
Despite the challenges of the past few months, I'm still loving this season of my life.
I haven't been dancing as much as I'd like, but I can still dance. I can still walk down my dirt road and climb hills with my sweetie and puppies. I can hop in the car and meet friends for dinner... when we have time.
Time is the biggest challenge.
I haven't had time to finish my photography website or post new samples to sites where I can sell my photos or a dozen other things I need to do for my business, but this afternoon I get to photograph a beautiful family for the second year in a row. Last year the weather didn't cooperate and we had to take a few shots inside, so this year I'm going prepared with lights I borrowed from a friend, and I've been brushing up on how-to's of indoor portraits. Just in case.
I can still learn.
I'm also preparing for my writer's group meeting tomorrow evening. Thursday I was gloriously stranded at home alone for hours because Tom's car is out of commission and he needed mine to get to work so I spent them working on my children's book. Despite all that time, I barely eked out one short chapter, but I also overhauled my outline and fine tuned previous chapters, things I couldn't have done without several undistracted hours.
The next few chapters should come easier, and that's good, because I'm holding on to my goal of finishing my book by December 19, so I can submit it for critique before February's conference.
I hope whatever season of life you're in right now, you live it to its fullest. Let's make a pact not to waste a single moment of this sacred time we've been given... and especially the time we have with our loved ones.
Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.
~ W. Somerset Maugham