I try to live in the moment. I work hard to be present. But sometimes living in the moment means accepting that THAT moment happens to be filled with memories of the past…and all of the emotions that come with it.
Things like heading to your hometown on a train and spotting the very place on the Amtrak platform where you stood 19 years ago with two suitcases and said teary goodbyes to your parents as you left for good and moved to Manhattan. And then getting to DC and walking the very same walk you walked for a year from your job up to your school. And to make matters more nostalgic, on that walk to pass your father’s favorite French restaurant where you happily recall a family dinner watching your now gone grandmother eat her three course meal enjoying every bite (and the next night to meet your mother there for a quick drink and smell the same smells and see the same fabric that’s been there since you ate there as a whole alive multi-generational family!). And then walking past the house you lived in with seven other girls your senior year. The house where there were laughs, tears, parties, career victories, and lifelong friendships solidified. Then you get to campus and you walk across remembering how mixed your feelings were about a school with such privilege and less diversity and your own crushing feelings of inferiority and jealousy and yet, a deep desire to make it work. And then to sit in a room dedicated to an on campus group you were so happy to get in to and to see your name on the dedication wall and to meet extraordinary current students, now members of the same group. And to leave and miss your train and spend an hour in Union Station remembering watching your grandparents dance there at your senior ball on graduation weekend, and the Sunday afternoon lunches your family used to have there when we decided after church to “take a drive” into the city.
There is no neat bow here to wrap this up and package it away. There is though gratitude, happiness and excitement to be getting home soon knowing these moments too will rush back in later years and overwhelm any of us that remember the baths, the dinners, the special places, the walks and all of those things that make up every current moment – being present and taking it all in.