A Letter to My Granddaughter: For Elizabeth

| 5/3/2011 8:55:12 AM

A Red Pine Mountain LogoWe're in a lull at the moment on Red Pine Mountain Farm.  Caught somewhere between winter and spring, rain falls daily.  Once again, I have to be patient for I long to be outside feeling the warmth of long absent sunshine.  And while I think about how difficult it is to be patient at times, I decided to share this piece I wrote last fall for my first grandchild. 

For Elizabeth 

“Slow down” my body tells me every day in many different ways. Aches I never had before make me take just a little longer to get up as I head to the far side of my fifties. But there is no need for my body to teach me this lesson. I’ve learned to slow down, to savor the moment and cling to the joy of the everyday.

Not always. I was impatient. As a child, a teenager, a young adult, I’d listen to my Mother and Grandmother tell me, “Slow down, don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. These are the best years of your life.” I’d look at them with the disdain of all knowing youth, oh so certain of myself. What did they know, those older women? I was in a hurry to mark those firsts; first day of school, driver’s license, graduation, college and beyond. All of those firsts were notches in my belt barely noticed as I kept striving for new milestones.

As a young bride, I wanted children and when my son was born, I eagerly anticipated his “firsts” and with every one, I looked to the next one. And as it was with my son so it was with my marriage, looking ahead to a future eagerly anticipated. Retirement was looming and we were planning where to go, what to do with this next chapter of our lives. Our dreams of the future ended when my husband was struck and killed on an icy road.

I learned that day to slow down, that there may never be another day and all I have is this moment in time. I started noticing the smallest of details; the way the mist coats the grass on humid summer mornings, the windows alight at sunrise, the fading light in the fall. There was a richness and texture to life I had never before noticed.

Mountain Woman
5/16/2011 5:46:23 AM

Shannon, what a beautiful comment you shared. If you can learn at your age to slow down and savor each moment, you will truly find the secret to happiness. You are indeed fortunate to have your children at home. Such a precious time of life that goes oh, so quickly. Happiness to me is finding joy every day and the contentment that infuses you when you do. Blessings to you and yours.

S.M.R. Saia
5/13/2011 2:10:28 PM

This brought tears to my eyes. Wow. Funny, I was just reflecting yesterday that I feel uncommonly well and happy the past few days and that I was now able to reflect on some unhappy experiences over the past few year that have now lost thier sting and which I can now see as being part of what makes me feel happy and confident today....of course other sadnesses, embarassments and feelings of helplessness will come....but for the first time to be able to glimpse that kind of synthesis in my life was kind of eye-opening...what does that have to do with your letter? I think that I have spent my whole life in the same urgent, point-to-point rush that you describe, and am only recently beginning to reflect on the pace of life and to accept it - not in resignation but with contentment. I love your blog and your posts. Your writing so often speaks to me in so many ways of things which are so important. Thanks so much.

Mountain Woman
5/6/2011 2:14:22 PM

Thank you Cindy! Enjoy your Mother's Day.

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