My mom got sick a month after I graduated from college. It was a tumultuous year full of hospital stays, and for a long time, we didn’t know if she would live.
Fast forward almost ten years, and my mom is still with us. We didn’t lose her, but due to the complications of her illness, we got a very different version of her. A very confused one. Most of the time she knows who I am. If not, I can always remind her. But it’s not the same.
It’s hard. I can remember getting annoyed with her before she was sick because she was telling me a story I’d already heard, but now she doesn’t remember those stories.
These days, my mom doesn’t call anymore. It’s my dad instead, telling me about doctor’s appointments or what he’s watching on TV. And maybe sometimes I’d rather be doing something else, like watching my own shows, or going out with a friend, or doing my work.
But I love my dad. And I love my mom. And some day they’re not going to be around. And I’m going to miss being able to hear the stuff I think is mundane now.
So now I invite 55 year old Kristyn to the table. She wants nothing more than to talk to her parents. And I’ve noticed that that has changed the conversations.
I get a lot more interested. We get beyond the surface stuff. We talk about more than just doctor’s appointments and what’s going on in my sisters’ lives.
This is a trick I invite you to try. With anything, really: time with your kids. Dates with your significant other. Work celebrations that you’d rather not attend.
Because if life has taught me anything, it is that things are always shifting. They are never certain. And even if you can’t imagine the day that something won’t be the same (your job, your family, your friendships), that time is probably coming.
So if you can find a way to savor your experiences now — and turn them into memories, not just events you weren’t really present for — you might thank yourself one day.