Enjoy the leftovers

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As I looked in despair at the remaining Ziploc bags and plastic containers of left-overs in my refrigerator today, I thought about just throwing them away. Some of it looks like it’s starting to congeal and we are all to the point where if we never see another green bean casserole that would be fine. The economical side of me won out for now….or was it sheer laziness? So, the leftovers will survive another day and tomorrow the ham will probably find itself floating in some kind of bean soup.

I thought about the other things “left over” from the holidays that won’t ever spoil. The memories of hugs that say “I’m not sure when I see you again so I am holding you especially tight” or the ones where a mama hopes her child can feel the love that she is overcome with when she holds them. The laughter shared when Granny comes back with something unexpected when a child is playfully picking on her. The smile and perfectly executed wink unexpectedly returned from a precious grandchild. Yes, there are all of those warm left over memories that we will revisit time after time over the coming weeks.

My eldest and granddaughter left yesterday and I remember the ache that I had to push back down as I told my baby girl, “Don’t be sad. Remember it’s not goodbye; it’s see you later”. I told her that it wouldn’t be long before Nana found a way to see her again, which is true. But in the meantime, I’m thankful for the leftovers.

Reflecting and preparing

Ashley and Morgan; then and now

Ashley and Morgan; then and now

It was that time of day when things are getting quiet everywhere.

Outside, the birds are seeking a place to roost, traffic slows down in the neighborhood and people begin to go indoors to settle in for the day.

From where I am sitting, I can see palm trees gently swaying in the breeze, but I can no longer see the streak of sunlight across my dining room floor; the same streak that Ayda found her shadow in when they were here just three long days ago.

I remember watching her quietly, not wanting to spoil the moment.  She would find it and pounce, trying to catch it, and then look for it again, line her little body up just right and try again.  The ever elusive shadow kept her busy for several minutes, an eternity for a toddler.  I remember thinking, “Enjoy this, Nana….capture this moment in your mind’s photo shop so you can enjoy it when they’re gone”.

And way too quickly, they were.  I fought back the tears as I leaned in to kiss her goodbye.  She was already strapped in nice and snugly in her car seat.  Away they drove, leaving me with an ache in my heart that felt like a brass fist clenched tightly around it.

Oh, and it wasn’t only Ayda.  My eldest waved from the car window, her blonde hair bouncing around her shoulders; the hair I used to put in pony tails, pig tails and bows, which she always fought me over.

Her husband and my youngest shared the front seat.  My baby, my youngest (wasn’t she in diapers yesterday?!?) was driving for the first leg of the journey.  The days of Barbie jeeps, speeding up and down our street until the batteries died, are long gone for this nostalgic mother.

Little Sis heading to her Big sister’s home in New Orleans for a visit that will wrap up the remainder of her last Spring Break as a high school student.  Spending Spring Break together is a tradition with them that I hope they keep.

Yes, this house is eerily quiet and lifeless (except for me of course).  And all of the things I thought I would do when I got the time, the solitude, and the silence are left waiting.  It seems I don’t have the motivation to do them today.  I look forward to my husband’s footsteps on the porch to break the silence and his kiss when he comes inside.

I’m glad that I always told my girls that as important as they are, one day they would leave and begin their own lives, leaving dad and I alone.  And for this reason, they must not complain when we spent quality, child-free time together; time spent nurturing our relationship so that when we were alone one day, we’d have invested wisely and be able to draw from that.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven  Ecclesiastes 3:1

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