Earlier this month, I spent a weekend away in Michigan. It had been far too long since I had seen my Mom and spent time with my sister. My niece’s baby shower provided the perfect excuse to purchase a plane ticket, clear my calendar, and head north.

Saying Hellow

Saying Hello is Much Easier Than Saying Goodbye

Trips back to Michigan are much different now that my father has passed away and my Mom has moved into an assisted living facility. Instead of staying at my Mom’s place, I hang out at my sister’s—which is wonderful. It gives us lots of time to catch up, hang out, and play our favorite card game.

On the last day of my visit, my sister and I took my Mom shopping. She is only good for about an hour of shopping. Then the process becomes overwhelming and Mom gets anxious to get back to her place. In some ways, this is a good thing. She is clearly settled and happy in her new home. But, it also means the time Mom and I spend together when I’m in Michigan is extremely short. I hadn’t really anticipated how limited our time would be before this last visit. Instead, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Amy and I dropped Mom off after our shopping trip, just in time for Sunday dinner back at her new home. (She chose dinner at her place over lunch out with us. Fair enough.)

We took her inside (in the back door so none of her friends would be jealous that she had gotten out for a shopping trip) and I said my goodbyes just inside the back door. My sister helped mom find a seat in the dining room and signed her back in. And that’s when it hit me: this is what visiting Mom would be like from here on out. Quick outings to the store. A short dinner out. A few stolen moments here and there.

Our time together is short. Very, very very short.

When Amy returned from getting Mom settled, I couldn’t hide the tears. I told her how difficult it was to realize how little time I have left with my Mom. Sure, there are phone calls, and there will be future visits…but those visits won’t add up to very many hours.

My sister gave me a hug and shared this wise advice. “Live in the now,” she said. “When you’re with Mom, focus on making those moments meaningful and fun.”

Somehow that simple advice made a world of difference. It stuck with me and I’ve realized that her advice doesn’t just apply to my Mom. I have been living in—and worrying about—the future in other areas of my life, too. I’ve been feeling sad that Collin will be heading off to college in two years, and Kailea will be following just two years after that. It’s pretty amazing, really, how much I’ve been thinking about that and living in the future. But being sad about inevitable future events simply robs you of now. And you know what? Now is all we’ve got.

If you find yourself worrying about the future, or feeling sad about inevitable future events, I hope you too will embrace my sister’s sage advice. Live in the now. Make today as meaningful and fun as possible. We can’t change the past and we can’t predict the future. So let’s take control of the only thing we can—which is now.

Aby

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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