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So many of the things around my house used to be my mother’s, or my mother-in-law’s, my aunt’s, or my grandmother’s. I am talking about the heavy kitchen scissors I use every day that used to be in the utensils crock next to my mother’s stove back at home, and those great insulated drinking glasses with the colorful flower garden on the sides we got for my husband’s mother one year for Christmas, and the wrought-iron candelabra I gave my grandmother when I was so young, because she burned candles every day. All of these gifts grace my house and I use them every day, now, even though I bought them for others in the first place. They came back to me. When my folks died we cleaned out the house and everyone took back the things they had bought them using the logic that if we liked it in the first place we would like it still. Same with my husband’s family. Other pieces found their way back to me because in the collection of things left after my grandmother died, I spotted the fancy candle holder and had fond memories of Grandma using it.

These gifts, come back home to me and remind me that we are all here on loan. Our relationships are only for the moment we’re in them. I felt my folks would live forever, and even when I saw my grandmother getting old and knowing she would not last my whole life, I didn’t understand how the present I had with her then was going to become a dear memory later on. It felt like the gifts I gave at those times were forever. But surprise, forever ended, and now those gifts are on my shelves ‘forever’.

Our children are the same in that they are only on loan to us while we are here. I see as my kids move out into the world, college and beyond, that we had them in our home as children in need of us, constantly, only to become capable adults managing because we taught them. It seems like forever when babies are crying and bath and bedtime are here again, when there is no time for myself because kids need so much. When my body isn’t even my own because I share it with my offspring. But surprise, forever goes away.

Enjoy it now while it is here, and make great memories to look back on later.