Monday, April 14, 2014

Stop To Smell The Roses

As I rode with my mother to Mamaw Rose's this weekend, we recalled fond memories of my late-grandfather, Papa Jim.

This April reminds us all that one year has gone by without Papa. 

It's a difficult time of year for all who loved him. 

I've said it before and I'm sure to repeat myself often, stating that Papa was more than a grandfather to all of us.

He was Papa Jim. 

His laugh and his joy for the best things in life were contagious- 

My Mama recalled something that Papa had told her long ago, as I rode with her to Mamaw's this past weekend.

I share it now because it's important to me -
to those who have grieved with me...

                   It's important for all of us...
 to remember 
the milestone memories
we've made 
with our loved ones...

So, I now pass along a piece of advice that my mother gave me and her father gave her...

Picture this...

You're with your mom in a minivan....

She's driving. 
It's early in the morning and you're wishing you'd guzzled another cup or 10 of coffee before she picked you up.
Your mother, if she's at all like mine-
drives a bit
than you do.

You feel...
ever so slightly...
irritated, impatient,
... and a generalized
makes your non-coffee'd self
speak more frankly than usual...

"Mom..., you can go a little faster if you want, you know."

I had remarked about my mother's all-too-cautious driving speed, which hadn't exceeded the 70MPH speed limit since we'd hopped in for our trip to Mamaw Rose's home.

"Mom, we're never going to get there if you keep going like this."
"I don't want a speeding ticket, Regina."
"You won't get one, Mom. You can go 80 and still be okay."
"You shouldn't be going 80."
"It's fine, Mom. Cops are cool with 80. Just not over 80. Speed limit is 70. Add 10. That's the real speed limit."

"We're not in that big of a hurry and I'm not risking having to pay a speeding ticket to arrive maybe 10 minutes earlier than we would've..."

"Okay, I guess.
... Just sayin'..."

I don't know how the above conversation sparked a memory that Mom shared next, but I'm glad it did.

She smiled and I watched her expression of happiness as she stated,

"You've got to stop 
and smell the roses."

I really am not sure why I'd felt compelled to encourage a big rush and slight law-breaking advice to my responsible mother. There was no need to hurry. I listened to her explain the phrase we've all heard, for the story behind it made me think...

Mom said, "That's what Papa always said. I had been in a big hurry once..."

She hesitated before finishing her sentence. I saw the smile on her face fade for a moment, as though sharing her memory with me were as bittersweet to recall as it was important to pass onto her daughter. 

"I think I was a teenager when Daddy said that. I don't remember where I was in a hurry to get to, but just remember him saying, 

'Cindy, you've got to just stop and smell the roses.'"

She smiled again. 
I smiled, too. 

We both got quiet. 

I broke the silence with, "He was right."

Mama nodded, still smiling quietly to herself as she stared out at the open road that lay ahead of us. 

The speedometer had dropped to 65.
I didn't care about that anymore, though. 

Papa was right. 

He was right about a lot of things. 
He lived his life in a way that made such positive impact on the lives of others. 

Papa always stopped to smell the roses. 

He took walks often. 
He walked slowly, as though taking in every breath of air were sacred and special. 

He rarely got in a hurry. 

Mamaw Rose walks at a speed much quicker than other women in their seventies. 
I can't keep up with her. 
Papa could, but he often chose a slower pace. 

You had to keep an eye on Papa if you went anywhere with him. 

His wandering off nature was to be expected. 
It was and still is something that I think about fondly. 

It's the way we should all live our lives, really. 
Taking in all the pretty little things and tiny joys life has to offer...

Stopping to smell the roses. 
After all, 
why are we in such a big hurry, anyway? 

There's no rush. 

Mama and I took our time on the way to Mamaw Rose's home. We talked and laughed together about silly little things along the way. 

That's what life is all about. 
The little joys
The roses

May we all walk a little slower, 
May we bring joy to the attention of others who walk at a faster pace, 
May we truly appreciate the beauty life offers us every day, 

May we ALWAYS stop to smell the roses. 

Dedicated with love to my family, 
In Loving Memory of Papa Jim 
and the Lessons He Taught Us All


Stopping To Smell The Roses... 


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