Nanny, just like both of my parents, has been a constant in my life. In my childhood, we lived near to each other. As a teenager, when my mom relocated us to the coast of North Carolina, Nanny relocated there, too. And, when my mother moved to the mountains of North Carolina over 15 years ago, Nanny decided the mountain life would be hers as well.
Her effect of my career cannot be overstated. She was the first person I ever witnessed can and preserve. She was the first person I knew who kept chickens, or had a garden, or owned a farm. Her tractor was the first I ever knew personally. Until I married and changed my name, I even bore part of her name in my own-we both were "Marie" in the middle.
She'll be 87 on August 31st of this year. She's youthful on every level. She tells off-color jokes, flirts with wait staff, and can dance a jig with the best of them. She comes over most Sundays, along with my mom, and plays with Huxley, typically festooning him with some gift or other. He's pretty smitten with her, as is Hubs. Most people are.
Our friend Jon was up this weekend, moving the yome he and his wife Jen purchased onto our property, down in one of what we refer to as the "lower fields." As we sat around the fire ring on our patio Saturday evening, roasting marshmallows, sipping wine and ruminating on our roles and lives as parents (his Awynn just turned 2), he mentioned how he's begun taking the "long view", as he called it. Both busy art teachers at private schools in the Atlanta area, Jon mentioned how he often finds himself frustrated at how much he wants to get done, in his garden, his studio, his home, only to find there's just not enough time.
He went on to say the expected full lifespan of a human, if they were to live as long as humans can live, was 120 years. Considering that expanse of time, and its length, has helped him to consider the long view, instead of feeling like time is always slipping through his hands like sand. Maybe he won't get as much planted and growing this year as he'd like, he said, but then, hey! There's always next year, and the year after, and then year after that. And next decade, even.
If we lived our entire potential lifespan, there's plenty of time to get things done. And, yes, focusing on every moment as the only moment we are promised is important, too, as it forces us to just enjoy and appreciate that opportunity, in all its fleeting glory. But the long view is important also, as it forces us to also be optimistic. We believe the sun will rise tomorrow, the seasons will change, and that the Earth will continue turning on its axis. We believe that life is rich and varied and ever in flux.
I'm taking the long view with Nanny. She's lived a wonderful, full life, always in the company of loved ones. Whatever the outcome with her current situation, the present moments I have with her are wonderful, the past ones were formative, and the future ones will be magical, however they materialize.
*Here's Nanny at Huxley's Wild Things party, this past October. She's dressed for the occasion and can be seen contemplating eating the entire tray of truffles Dan and Jael brought to share. Apologies for the blurry quality of the photo, but she was in motion!