When I think back on the last few years, I’m often astonished at how much has changed. A sign of getting old, to be sure, is to notice how different things are year over year.
As a kid, I don’t think I noticed much from year to year – but then, maybe things didn’t change as much then. Every Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving was roughly the same: the same people, the same meals, and often, the same conversation.
Last night, Dad sat in Papa’s chair. Uncle Allan in Uncle Doug’s. My brother wasn’t there, but F was. The only thing that remains constant is that I’m asked to say grace before we eat, and that only Nanny, Aunt Cheryl and I eat the parsnips.
Long after the lights were out last night, I thought of how different Easter was five years ago, when J and I stood in front of our church without jackets, in the sunshine, to have a family photo taken. When we took F to the hospital to visit Papa.
Different hardly seems the right word.
F and I attended church yesterday in winter jackets and boots. The congregation is half the size it was just a few years ago. There is so much snow on the ground. Aunt Mayme, Uncle Doug and Papa are all gone. There’s something about everyone being together that reminds me of how many we’re missing.
I’ve decided to focus my attention to the F’s excitement, how absorbed he is in the awesomeness of a family holiday. The moments spent reading children’s books on the couch and searching for candy behind picture frames will be gone before we know it. This week will be about making new memories and enjoying right now.
Even if I know I’ll soon be regretting my decision to give him that last chocolate egg.