It is the beginning of a new year and I have often contemplated how I would spend my time if given just a portion of it.
I would go dancing. My cousin would sing in the band and all the extended family would be there — four generations of us. We would sing and chat and eat, and I would drown in Dianne’s laugh, hug aunties and uncles, and hold new babies.
I would visit with my daughter Amie and be amazed again by her beauty, grace, and strength of character. She is an extraordinary woman with a deep intellect and soul. She is wise. During our conversation, our nails would end up polished and the latest in fashion critiqued while she effortlessly bakes a cake, sews a new handbag, sells one of her exclusive photos, feeds a baby, and calculates a business decision. I would not want the day to end as I look at her with the same awe that I did the day she was born, utterly enchanted.
I would dance and play with her four extraordinary daughters. After a discovery walk outdoors using our imagination to build forts or castles, I would read to them and them to me. We would dance in their tiny living room. To close the day — I would sing their favourite songs while stroking their heads until they fall into a deep sleep. I would cry in my prayer for angels to protect them.
I would go see my son Benjamin. He is a special man — fun, smart, committed, kind, and loyal. He always greets me at the airport and I would embrace his children who run shouting, “Grandma, Grandma!” I would cave to their excitement to see the gifts in my suitcase despite the parents’ objections and play Lego on the floor for hours. Each child would be allowed a day off from school or daycare to spend privately with me and I would count every second of these special times.
In the evening, I would smile when I hear the laughter of my daughter-in-law. I like that laugh. My son and I will then chat until late as we are close and safe in each other’s company. We will retire to the deck for our Hendricks and Fever Tree, listen to the sounds of the city, and let the evening languish slowly. I am in no rush to say goodnight or goodbye.
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I would go to see my brother Jim and just listen to the conversation that goes on when you have five adult children. I would let his daughters hold me in their arms like they always do and share my gratitude for their love. When my nephew’s baby is born, I will exclaim in wonderment the same words I said when I first held him: “Oh, this child is perfect!” He will be an amazing daddy.
I would go to my sister’s bright home and sit in her ancient rocker, the one that I rocked all her babies in, and enjoy the sounds of her now grown family. We would laugh a lot because this tight-knit clan debates everything from weather to politics and those discussions are entertaining and refreshing for me.
I would order Chinese food for my brother David and he would make instant coffee. Then we would go out to a music concert and I would bring a new handkerchief for him as he is certain to cry from the emotion of it. I would tell him he has a beautiful soul.
I would have a long conversation about farming and business with Dad just as I have been doing for over 50 years. He would make popcorn in a big old iron pot and it would be the best conversation and popcorn in the world. I would take mother on a day trip away from the farm to do whatever she desired. We would drink strong coffee and eat sushi while she brings me up to date on my hometown. She would love it and I would get great pleasure in being with this very special woman.
I would have a long and high-level discussion with my stepdaughter Sarah, soon to be Dr. Sarah, and pretend that I knew what I was talking about. We would drink London Fog and let the afternoon slip away. I would marvel at Holly’s artistic work and funky soul. I would call my friends and tell them they are the air I breathe and their love is my strength.
I would go home to be close to the fire in winter or the sun in summer and to listen to the birds in the trees. I would walk the farm with my dogs just as I do each and every day — admiring the beauty and the sanctity of it. I would sort a pen of cattle.
I would ride my horse of 30 years. We have a special and private love for each other and of all the creatures on earth — it is he who has the deepest understanding of who I am. He would carry me with great pride.
I would pray for forgiveness.
I would hold the hand of my partner and he mine. And then I would leave without fear for I have lived — and that in itself was gift enough.