A “today” to remember.
It’s often in life’s simplest moments that time can stand still. Moments that arrive without a fanfare yet they take our breath away. This week I was reminded of one such priceless moment I shared with my dad. It was a day that I knew was different by the time we finished breakfast.
Although he’d been weak the few days prior, this day he couldn’t find the strength to make the short distance from his bedroom to the kitchen on his own. My mom helped him into a wheelchair so that he could join me. But when my story-telling dad joined me at the table, he sat uncharacteristically silent. Too weak to sit up straight, he barely ate a bite.
After I cleared away breakfast, I wheeled dad into the living room. There I attempted to fill the silence with my own gift of gab while my heart ached, not able to ignore the significant change. But soon, I too became quiet, unsure what I could do to help. I’ve long appreciated how music can lift your spirit so I decided to play big band on my phone. After all, it was my dad’s favorite genre. For as long as I could remember, he and my mom cut the rug any chance they got. Together they were simply magical on the dance floor.
Soon a familiar song came on. One that I can recognize in an instant – Glen Miller’s In the Mood. It was by far my parent’s favorite songs to dance to. I reached over and grabbed dad’s hand and began swaying it to the music. Suddenly he tightened his grip on my hand. My heart lept. I slid out of my chair and took his other hand. I began swaying our hands together while I crouched in front of him attempting to be the same height.
“We’re dancing.” I said.
Although he didn’t reply, his grip let me know that we were sharing the moment together. When the song ended, my heart smiled. “We danced Dad” I said. Without any hesitation he lifted his head slightly and said in his sweet voice “yes we did!”
It was my last father – daughter dance. We lost dad just a few days later. The priceless moment swaying hands together with dad to Glenn Miller will remain one of the greatest treasures that I could ever possess.
This week marked three years since that special dance. Honoring my dad, I wanted to share several life reminders that are good for all of us to keep close at heart:
How to make the most of today:
Some days won’t turn out the way you wish they would. You or the people you care about will have challenges. Don’t spend your time wishing you were someplace else or that things were different then they are. Instead find ways to be present right where you are. When my dad was silent, I didn’t pick up my phone and escape to social media. Instead I used my phone to entertain us together. Make a conscious choice to really be with the people you’re with.
Dance right where you are.
Make opportunities to connect and find happiness in the moments you have. Meet the people you care about where they are. Lay on the floor to laugh with an infant. Jump in a mud puddle with a toddler. Take a good friend out for coffee and linger over conversation. Dance however it is possible by making the most of your time with the people you care about most.
Keep your treasures close in your heart.
Life is a woven fabric of the sweet and happy with the difficult, the memorable, and the wish-you-could forget moments. Don’t get lost in the challenges of everyday life and without keeping the special moments tucked close to your heart. Truly priceless moments come few and far between. Cherish what they bring to life’s journey. Allow them to be sunshine on your rainy day and tide you over until you see your next rainbow.
Encourage others to embrace today.
You don’t have to look far to find a friend or family member who has been swept in to the hectic pace of the world around us. Invite them to slow down with you for a few moments and find enjoyment on the journey. It is great to be driven and pursue goals but be sure you and those around you take time to smell the roses along the way.
Cherish the people you love.
It’s not enough to care about the people in your life. You need to tell them! Tell the people that you appreciate that they matter. Tell them in person, write a note, call them, or share this post and tag them. Don’t let today go by without reminding them that they’re special. None of us are promised tomorrow. Be sure they know how much they matter.
In the bittersweet last few days I had with my dad, we had a long conversation about his legacy. He left behind a family that loved him greatly and a community that appreciated him sincerely. He had a big heart and was always quick smile, laugh, and help whomever needed help. I sat on the floor next to his bed and promised him that many of the stories he shared with me or that we experienced together would live on. Today’s post is me keeping that promise while I smile and look up to heaven and say “we danced Dad” knowing somewhere on the other side he’s saying “yes, we did.”
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