The family gathered at my sister's house on Saturday, along with friends we've known for more than 25 years, among them a young family with two boys: 5 and 7 years old.
After dinner, we convened in the front yard for a few fireworks. The little boys were ecstatic--they ran in circles, shouting "Best 4th of July EVER!!!" These little guys are so well behaved and polite, so much fun to be around that I stayed until the last popper popped, despite other invitations. Their enthusiasm was contagious, their delight so real that the sparklers sparkled brighter, the crackers cracked louder and the fizzes whizzed faster. Watching them transported me to the time my own children were equally thrilled with small things.
Yesterday was Meatloaf Monday. Mom and I reported for duty, as usual. Before I could start mixing and measuring, I had to take set up shop in a corner for a minute, using my computer and cell phone to run one last detail to ground and get a magazine article submitted. As soon as possible, I packed up my laptop, turned off my cell phone, and headed to the kitchen.
My mother was standing at the counter, lit up like a Christmas tree. Wearing a pink baseball cap, a lavender t-shirt, khaki capris and her brand-new tan Crocs with white ankle socks, she could have been any age at all. Actually, she looked ageless: so dear it's impossible to believe she's 75.
Several people were on vacation, so five of us produced meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, and salad for more than 500. The kitchen was hot and the work fairly heavy for so few. Mom more than held up her end of the deal, slinging 10-pound sleeves of hamburger and 3-gallon containers of corn like they were nothing. She laughed and told stories that made others laugh. She wrung every bit of possible enjoyment out of the experience.
Neither those little boys nor my mother would describe what they were doing as "being in the moment."
No mantras. No meditations. No chants.
Only joy. Only love. Only now.