Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Little Moments

In my junior year of high school, it was just me and my dad. My mom lived in Las Vegas, my sister was at college on the East Coast, and the four people I thought would be my step-family were gone for good. So it was just us - a bratty 16-year-old and a father she barely knew.

He made efforts to be a part of my life, and I usually recognized them for what they were. That didn't mean I appreciated them very much - they were more like something I tolerated with an eye roll and embarassed grumbling of "Oh, Dad..." running through my head. He would ask about my friends, try to keep up to date with my schedule, and ask if I wanted to do things together on weekends. But I was a teenager, and the last thing I wanted was to spend a bunch of my precious time with a man I didn't know well and had never been close to.

One day, on the way home from school, we were driving on the freeway. Green Day's "Time of Your Life" - which was relatively new and hot at the time - came on the radio. After a minute or so, Dad turned to me and said, "This is Green Day right?"

I did the requisite rolling of eyes and conceded. "Yes, Dad. Green Day."

"Yeah," he said. "I thought so. I like this song."

I think I gave a second eye roll. He was so transparent! Trying to be "cool" and pay attention to my kind of music. How lame can one man be?

And yet now, so many years later, I look back on that moment with such fondness. He did pay attention, and he tried to notice me and my life. I wasn't always noticing back then, but I notice now. And perhaps more importantly, I notice those kinds of moments as they happen these days, instead of after the fact.

(Well, okay, I don't always notice them as they happen, but I certainly make more of an effort now.)

Sometimes it means just sitting quietly at home, occasionally finding a funny blog post or entertainment article, while the kitties lie purring at my feet. Other times, it's blasting through a fast-paced lindy hop with a partner who smiles and laughs and makes me feel like I'm a good dancer and a special person. Or maybe it's reading a book with Bubbers, chasing him around the kitchen, hearing him call out, "Nanny Lara!" when he loses sight of me, then hearing him squeal and giggle when I jump out and surprise him.

Whatever it is, it's little - so little, in fact, that it'd be easy to miss if I weren't looking for it. But I am. I'm looking for those little moments, the ones that'll stay with me for years and years, and keep me warm and happy in the darkness. Because if I don't look for them, they'll pass me by, and someday, when I look back on my life, I'll wonder what happened to all that wasted time.

So stop, look, listen, and notice the world around you. What little moments have made your life recently?

Our lives are made in these small hours,
These little wonders,
These twists and turns of fate.
Time falls away, but these small hours,
These small hours
Still remain.



dancing dragon said...

Just beautiful, as always. :) The pictures too.

TSM Oregon said...

I love your description of your dad's interest in your music. When I was that age, I listenened to George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" and nearly gave my stepdad a coronary. My response?

"What? He's preaching monogamy!"

Sorry in advance for the fun search results you'll get!

Wolf Lover Girl said...

I often remember how badly I treated my mom when she was going through chemo and stuff for her breast cancer. :-(

I love the flower picture today!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...


It's always the little things that mean the most. It's too bad we miss a few of them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you - this is a great reminder, and just what I need right now.

Anonymous said...

You are soooo right! Thanks for the reminder. Kinda like that email I sent you today, 'The Seven Wonders of the World'!

That top photo?? You look EXACTLY like my sister did at your age!! Amazing!!! BTW, she's a missionary now but she was an English teacher.

Angela said...

You have such beautiful posts. I really love this one. Thanks for sharing it.

Still Jill B said...

It IS the small moments. Permission to call you when I find something noteworthy that nobody around appreciates?

Usually it's in my office and it's one of those humorous moments that other folks don't find funny. Today it was this woman who left me a voicemail. I'm not sure who it was, because all I got was, "uhh, hello?? [clatter of phone being hung up - but not really] and several minutes of her shuffling papers, stapling, and doing other things on her desk. It was hysterical, but maybe you have to hear it to really get it.

Lady M said...

It's one the things I love about blogging - an place to capture those little moments right after they happen, without having to make a big production about it.

Lara said...

dancing dragon - thank you, dear. on both counts. :)

TSM - hahahaha! that's a good response, i guess. i don't think i would have shared a song like that with my dad. ;) i'll let you know what search results show up from this...

wolf lover girl - yeah, i wasn't treating him nearly well enough. i regret a lot of that time, but i can't get it back now. no sense dwelling - just learn a lesson and move on.

mrs. chicky - thank you. i'm trying to miss fewer of them these days than i used to. sometimes i just need to give myself reminders. i think we all do.

tali - you're welcome. if it was helpful, then i'm glad.

r u serious? - i'm glad i could remind you. like i said to mrs. chicky, we all need reminders now and then. this was a reminder for me at least as much as others.

angela - that's very sweet, and thank you. i'm glad for the opportunity to share.

jill b - call me anytime. :) and yeah, i think the voicemail needs to be heard to truly get the humor. :-P

lady m - i hadn't thought of that, but you're completely right, of course. it's nice having that outlet. :)