Oh, boy. It’s a dangerous thing to invite a widow and empty-nester to post a blog on the theme Nostalgic! Contemplating the past can lead to maudlin stretches and lots of used Kleenex, even if I don’t have a glass or two of wine first. I don’t think that would be at all edifying to the blogging community, so I’m going to try hard to steer away from that. I hope to write and show something that is true about a time that has come and gone.
Life is characterized by impermanence. Our kids don’t stay little; our loved ones don’t stay alive forever. What we live is present moments. If we try to hang on to them and make them more permanent or attach our happiness to them, we are in for a world of frustration. As we get farther away from present moments, it’s hard to remember what they were really like. We lose perspective. That wonderful family outing…did I yell at the kids that day? I don’t remember. I probably lost patience at least once. Did my kids remember that? How did they feel? How did they heal? Or is it all, as my mother often puts it, ‘a merciful blur’?
Brookfield Zoo dolphin show, August 1991. Jim (RIP), Emily, Josh, Becca and Susan (bride to be in 3 weeks!).
In my current life, I see a lot of families on outings with their children, since I work at two different family museums. Families interact in all sorts of ways. I try to look at them with compassion and tolerance remembering what I can about how challenging it is to raise 4 kids at one time. The important thing is to BE KIND in the present moment. With your kids or someone else’s. If the world is to be a good place to live, it’s important that all 7 billion of us humans remember to BE KIND. And this is not a glib solution. If you think deeply about being kind, you’ll see that it is a profound power in the universe. BE KIND to your fellow humans. BE KIND to every living thing. BE KIND to yourself first, and feel what that is like. It is peace. It is well-being and health. It is life. Don’t settle for feeling nostalgic about a time when you felt the world was a kinder place to live. Make it a kinder place to live this very moment by acting kindly!