Friday, January 9, 2015

What our days make of us

He told me, "I can feed myself. Go sit over there."
He ate his entire lunch by himself.
You'd think I was talking about a two-year-old.

I'm not talking about a two-year-old.

But the edges of life curve toward each other. Bear a striking resemblance as they bend. I can guess what he was like at seven and five and two because I've known him at 87, 89, 91 (almost). The innate kindness, the silliness, the independence, the downright stubbornness of the old man is surely like the small boy.

There's no one alive who can tell me I'm right about him. No one alive who remembers ME at the age of two (sorry, big brother, I doubt you could paint a picture of my character from when you were three-and-a-half). And those who know me now--can they project who I might be were I to live another 34 years? Whoa, 34 years? 

Will my sometimes-crankiness devolve into always-crankiness? Will my 'strong personality' (as many who know and love me call it) devolve into a downright judgmental, critical spirit that has no room for grace in it?

Or, should I live to sit across the room from a daughter-in-law who spends her days caring for me, will I become like wine that ages? Sweeter with time, better for the days that pass, more valuable than gold, and something so pure and true that all long to be near.

Like this man sitting across the room from me,
this man very like a two-year-old,
a sweet two-year-old. Kind and true and simple.
Pure even.

What will the days I live make of me?
What will your days make of you?


M said...

"The innate kindness, the silliness, the independence, the downright stubbornness" -- that just about sums up every Wiley living! ;)

Pamela M. Steiner said...

These days are treasure troves. Continue to relish each one. The day will come when you will be so thankful you were able to live this experience. We are going through a similar time with my mother in law, who is also 91, but she is not quite as far along in the "process" of aging as your father in law...but close behind. Good days and bad days, but days that we should treasure because they will not come our way again, and that will be sad...and yet we will be glad to know they are home where they belong. Thank you for sharing this time with us.

jeskmom said...

Pam, I'm surely feeling what you're going through. We're blessed to have it, blessed to know we're blessed in it.
M, you're absolutely RIGHT. It does sum you all up. Must be in the genes. Can't think of a better family to have cast my lot with--the good, the bad and all in-between. Hmm. come to think of it, I've been a Wiley longer than I wasn't. Whoa, what a thought.