Time will surely loosen your grip.
This past weekend was my cousin’s 1st birthday party. As I get older it feels like there are fewer times when the whole family is together, so I cherish the time spent with them. I was happy to see my Uncle Frank there. I feel like I have seen him less especially since he has missed a few family parties.
Once everyone is sitting at the table the conversations are roaring, 3 or 4 going on at once. As the appetizers were coming out my uncle was having what seemed like a little panic attack. They moved him out of the booth and into a seat next to me. They put a wet napkin on his neck, brought him a glass of wine and slowly he relaxed. Over the years he has slowed down a bit, lost a few more hairs on his head and grown smaller as I have grown taller. He is in his 80s now.
As a child I spent a great deal of time with my grandmother at the grocery store that my great aunt and great uncle ran, so I suppose I spent quite a bit of time with them too. My uncle was always doing something in his white ribbed tank top, summer or winter. Sometimes that something was making sure I was staying out of trouble around the store. He was taller than me back then. He is a man of small stature, but his sub-5 foot frame can hardly contain his giant personality.
“You no like sit next to me?”
The salad was being served. My mind had wandered off again and I caught myself staring at the wall when my uncle asked me the question. We have never exchanged many words. Our interactions usually consisted of me laughing at his wise cracks… and he is full of them. I began to hang on his words after that.
He made jokes, drank his wine, poked fun at my goatee, we all laughed and had a great time. I started to notice that, whether he realized it or not, between his wise cracks my uncle was peppering in little lessons and words of wisdom. Lessons on keeping your heritage close to you, starting a family, and marriage.
I took it all in, but this stuck out most.
“Do you remember when you were little and I used to take you for a walk around the block?” My uncle asked me in Italian. The question caught me off guard.
“You don’t remember. I would take you by the hand and bring you for a walk.” As if he was replaying the memory as he spoke.
“Of course I remember!” The memory had escaped me until that moment. He smiled
“Don’t ever forget. Don’t ever forget.” Nothing more was said. Another joke followed shortly after.
It’s amazing what you can hear when you hang on those words. They stuck with me for the rest of the party and I scooped up others as well.
This was not the post I had originally planned, but sometimes you need to capture a moment before it washes away.
Hang on every word. We often listen, but don’t hear what is being said to us. We lose the little details that can help define a picture and guide us forward. They say time waits for no one. If you take a second to think about how quickly it feels like you arrived at this very moment in time you can’t help but agree.
Cling to every moment. If you don’t, by the time you realize that you should have held on tighter… you will look down to find nothing in your hand.