Make It Count

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI sat in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, holding my newborn daughter close, her skin soft against my cheek. We’d been discharged from the hospital just the day before. So new, this little one, and so precious.

The door to the street creaked open and I watched idly as an old woman shuffled in. She hobbled over to the reception desk, a sweet smile breaking up the deep lines on her face.

“I’m here to pick up a requisition,” she said. “I was awake at 7 a.m. but it took me a bit to get going.”

It took a moment for that to sink in – it was now 2 p.m.

The elderly woman continued talking. “It takes a lot longer than it used to. Age just sort of creeps up on you when you least expect it.”

It was then that it hit me. This woman, weathered by time, was a baby once, just like the tiny bundle in my arms. There was a day, years ago, when the doctors placed her in her own mother’s arms. Her mother would have snuggled her close, inhaled her newborn scent, kissed her soft cheek.

As she grew, her mother would have cleaned her sticky toddler hands. Packed her lunch on her first day of school. Helped her dress in layers of white at her wedding and then cried as she walked down the aisle.

Her mother is probably gone by now and the woman’s own children grown.

It’s a lesson to hold onto in the busyness of life. Things are constantly pulling, tugging, begging for attention. The washer buzzes – it’s time to change loads. The oldest child needs help getting a toy off the shelf. The middle one needs help putting on her shoes. The baby is crying because, although she has been up all night feeding, she’s hungry again. Suddenly, it’s already time to get supper on the table.

Where did the day go? Where have the months gone? And the years?

Life passes in the blink of an eye. The soft, downy skin of a newborn is traded in for the sticky hands of a toddler, who all too soon is old enough to climb on a bus and head to school. Then there is university, weddings, grandkids.

Age creeps up on you when you least expect it. Time is precious. There is one short life to live here on earth.

How will you make it count?

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