He describes a glass jar of marbles that hulks on a corner of his desk. He is professional, efficient, an accomplished businessman, and his words have stuck in my brain ever since.
"I set up the jar, estimated how many years an average person lives, and now every January, I take one marble out."
|Photo credit: Flickr user Sally, Creative Commons, cc license|
Marbles catch the light and diminish slowly in the jar on his desk, and his meaning sinks in.
"I wanted to remember how fast life flies by and to make sure to live fully."
His exact words are fuzzy to me now, but the image still reverberates.
Weeks, months, years trickle through our fingers and leave only memories. Our children's heads race closer to our foreheads and then flash by. Ankles flash pink skin cold in winter growth spurts, and I peek into my garage for the purple plastic bin of Daniel's next size clothes. Morgan brings home a brand new college identity card, grinning cheeky at her row of color-coordinated gel pens and bulging pack of binders.
We carve calendar dates for two graduations this spring, and both John and Morgan step into their last semesters. They each organize their rooms and start packing. Morgan dreams of college dorm-room decor and spies out small sets of kitchenware. John boxes up childhood mementos, making room for another carton of wedding supplies, and brainstorms apartments for the summer.
And your children too, are stretching taller by the week, their shoes and jeans shrinking by the month, and how do you slow down time?
Our marbles diminish so subtly, so silently, that I look and am surprised to do the math and see where I am today. You too?
Our words matter. Our minutes are priceless. As cells stretch, divide, and stretch again, the loved ones in our life grow taller, older, and seasons flash by.
Snow melts here in Minnesota today. Last week's arctic chill now slips grated snow through my black metal patio table, shredding ice into stalactites below.
I crunch out to my compost bin this afternoon before supper, scowling at the rabbit tracks, and trying to halt their entry into my yard. I'm comfortable without a winter jacket and the snow crunches and melts underfoot.
The cold had seemed so impenetrable and now snow shrinks by the hour. Tomorrow and Thursday are supposed to be warm as well.
And the snow disappears from my deck.
"Mom, will you play a game with me?" Daniel asks, his tousled hair still standing up in the back despite each day's water.
"Sure, bud. Let's play."
Throughout the night, I sneak down to hug my two oldest kids who are cramming homework.
"I love you so much." The words fall naturally as I reach up to hug them, leaning my head against their chins.
Take a marble with me, my friends. The snow has melted even more since supper and I don't want to miss a moment.
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