I recently watched Laura Vanderkam’s Ted talk on time management, “How to gain control of your free time.” Her lesson being that time shrinks or expands depending on what you put into it or take out of it. Last night my younger cousin and his girlfriend came for dinner, we talked until after midnight and I didn’t even notice. Most evenings I am toast by 9:30 – I don’t rise early, I just like sleep. But the time flew because I was able to fully enjoy the moment and engage with our guests.
I was startled and delighted by the composure, dignity, and appropriate behavior of my children last night. They set the table and listened politely to dinner conversation only interjecting when appropriate and not only followed our instructions but did so without argument. They did a phenomenal job, I was completely blown away by them and their behavior.
They were not the only young people at that table that I was impressed by. Both my cousin and his partner of three years, while young displayed admirable maturity and wisdom. They showed compassion, made mistakes, asked forgiveness, and really showed how comfortable they are with one another. The confidence they share in their relationship is inspired. Neither is defined by their union. They are seeking out their individual career paths each demonstrated security and confidence in doing that on their own. They choose to be together not because they need one another but because they want one another and I think there is a very distinct difference in those two statements.
Seeing them in their early twenties showing respect for each other, support for their individual and collective growth, patience, understanding, forgiveness, and vulnerability. I was impressed and I am truly grateful that we were able to dine and gather. I’m grateful that my home has become a place of safety and refuge for my extended family. I’m grateful that we provide a safe space to hold difficult conversations and celebrate each other. I’m grateful that at the end of a long evening I am not tired but invigorated by the joy and generosity of others. I’m grateful that this is the life and the home I get to share, the example I get to set for the people I love most.
Making for time for connections like these is what I am most looking forward to as our society opens up again. The deep trust and vulnerability that is required for these connections is not easy to come by, it is work. But I have found in the past year that this is the work worth doing. These are the relationships I want in my life, the mutually supportive and loving interactions that give us the support and encouragement to be our best selves and bring our full selves to the table. I’m ready, are you?