We sat around the dinner table and I suggested that we play a board game. Whenever I visit my Grandma and family in Texas, it’s a bit of a “thing” that we play board games. Gram looked up and said “I don’t think we have time for a board game, but let’s play a game where we ask each other questions. I’ll start. What is the worst thing that you’ve ever done or that has ever happened to you?” In a matter of .5 seconds, the air thickened and we all looked down at our phones, clearly eager to play her “game”. So much for a round of Scrabble. My aunt, cousin and I quickly changed the subject since I’m pretty sure none of us were prepared to dive into a topic to deep and so sudden. But the question remained and loomed around in my head. You see, with my Grandma, all bets are off. She’s, basically, my best friend. She’s one of the first ones I call when I have exciting news, and she is one of the first ones I run to when I’m going through a really rough time. So asking a question so deep probably didn’t seem abnormal, since she and I have talked about all those things a million times over.
This trip that I took to Texas was a bit different than all the others. About 5 weeks ago I was walking out of the gym when I saw she was calling me from her cell phone. I knew something had to be up because she never calls me from her cell. I answered the phone as I opened my car door and started my car. The minutes that followed are all a blur to me now but I remember one thing clearly. With a shaken tone that I had never heard come from her voice, she said “Alicia, I think I’m dying and I just want you to know in case something happens to me in the next couple days”. I’m sure we’ve all thought about what it would be like if someone you love suddenly gives you bad news, but I don’t think you can ever fully prepare yourself for it. I tried cracking jokes to make her laugh, but more than anything to distract her from hearing that on the other side of the phone, I was sobbing. With tears pouring down my cheeks, I prayed for her over the phone, and told her she was going to be alright. Deep down, I had no clue if that statement held any truth. Thankfully, and by the persuasion of almost every family member of mine, she finally agreed to go to the doctor and, God willing, Gram will still be with us for a while. But it’s in times like this that you really begin to count the moments. The moments in between. And the moments that matter.
I can blurt out countless memories of life with Gram. How she used to take us jumping in puddles after a rain storm. How we used to sit and shape dollhouse food from playdough, food that she still has in the kitchen of her dollhouse. How she once tried spanking me with a wooden spoon, but it broke mid-swing, and she was laughing so hard that she couldn’t follow through with disciplining me that day. How we would often walk to the corner store and she would let us pick out a piece of…fruit. Never candy, always fruit. How we would go to the beach and, as soon as we arrived, she would perch herself at the shack that sold fried clams. My goodness, she loved her fried clams. How she lovingly, but firmly, said “Well I think you’re being an ass to him” when I told her I had broken up with Adam 2 years into dating. And how over the last 5 years we’ve developed such a strong friendship that we are almost always the first to know when something big is happening in our lives. (when she called me that day, she had only told my Grandfather that she’s been sick)
And here’s the thing. I obviously did not want Gram to pass away. I was/am, in no way, prepared for that to happen now. But, had it happened, I could’ve rest assured that I gave everything I could to our relationship. And the moments that matter were plentiful. I never would’ve regretted not going to visit her, because I did. And I do, as often as I can. I never would’ve regretted not calling her more, because I did. And I do, as often as I can. Those are the things in life that matter. We get so caught up in our daily routines, in watching our TV programs, in checking Facebook and wasting time on Pinterest that we so often forget the people in our lives that really make life worth living. I am just as guilty of it as the next person. But as I sat at her table last week, eating one of her amazing breakfast’s, I was reminded that, at the end of the day it’s about creating moments that matter. Because you’ll never live a life of regret if it’s a life filled with those kinds of moments.
So, my challenge to you is that today, this week, this month (but don’t keep pushing it off!), create some moments that matter. Teach your kid how to ride a bike. Go to lunch with your Mom. Take your husband/wife on a surprise adventure. And, for heaven’s sake, call your Grandma. Cause Gram’s are the best. 😉