This past weekend I had the chance to visit my three grandparents.
Lucky me to be 38 years old and still have three grandparents to visit.
It was a quick but concentrated 36 hours of surprise, serenity and sweet moments.
My Grandpa, Grandma and Granny are 92, 90 and 84 respectively. The life in those years is truly without measure.
During these visits we sat, we held hands and we talked. There weren’t distractions or responsibilities. All I wanted was to see them and spend time with them. Our time together wasn’t anything more than sitting on the couch, across a table, or in a chair next to the bed. We talked about the past, we talked about my family and I showed them a lot of photos that were met with smiles and wonder.
The last few years have been tough on each of them in unique ways. Certainly the challenges that come along for our loved ones late in their lives often command the rest of us to soften toward them and appreciate them in new ways.
In my moments and conversations with my grandparents this weekend I made a few observations.
I noticed that time seemed to slow way, way down, almost to the point of standing still. And I wanted it that way.
Our words were chosen very carefully, but also very easily and honestly. I found myself yearning to remember every single word that was exchanged.
I appreciated how patient we were with each other. Questions that were misunderstood were repeated and extra time was given for consideration and answer.
And the answers themselves were interesting and, more importantly, valuable.
I noticed that our hugs were longer and tighter.
We unabashedly stared into each other’s eyes.
I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and memories.
There was a heartwarming tenderness that blanketed these moments. It felt like sunshine on my face.
My grandparents have given me so much of their lives over the course of mine. But in this visit they gave me the best gift of all—their time.
The real kind of time.
The kind of time that is slow and patient. The kind of time that calls for longer and tighter hugs. The kind of time in which we look at each other, really look at each other. The handholding kind of time. The tender kind of time. The kind of time without distraction or to-dos or frenzy. The kind of time that beckons us to never, ever forget the moment.
It’s the only kind of time that truly matters. And it’s the kind of time we all deserve, especially by those who love us the most.
We live in a crazy world. Our conversations are harried and hurried. We interrupt, we talk over each other, and we ask questions without sometimes even wanting to know the answers. We listen with one ear, but with the other ear we strain to hear the beep of our phones, the cries of our kids or the conversations around us. We look beyond each other, rather than at each other. We have one step in and one step out. We divide and conquer. We multitask in our days, in our relationships and in our moments with each other.
So, in honor and in thanks to my grandparents, I promise to try to be better with my time. I promise to try to be more present. I promise to try to slow down. I promise less distraction. I promise to try for more patience. And more tenderness.
I promise to try to be better at giving a better kind of time.
It’s the least, but also the very best, I can do.