The other day, old memories bowled me over like a tidal wave when we had a family evening at one of our favourite places, Lawrencetown Beach.  While my senses were filled with the pounding waves and bright evening sun, I was not expecting the intense emotions that the visit brought.

As Audra and I walked down the beach, I was immediately brought back to a memory of being in that same place seven years earlier:  2008.  Our lives were different.  We lived in Ontario and our kids were still little – 3 & 5 years old.  I vividly recall that trip 7 years ago, when my heart longed to live in Nova Scotia, but yet our roots seemed to be going deeper into Ontario soil every passing year.

“Hey! Take a picture of me doing a handstand here!” I suggested remembering that in 2008, Dean took a picture of me in a handstand at Lawrencetown Beach, which then became a visual reminder to me of where I intended for us to live one day.

Knowing that I had posted it on Facebook way-back-when, I checked out the album, only to have time hit me hard.

It seemed that I was the only one who hadn’t changed. (much…)

Lawencetown 2008

Lawrencetown 2008

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Lawrencetown 2015

When I saw the pictures of our kids on that trip – so little and sweet, so dependent and full of childlike awe at everything – my mommy-heart mourned a little.  Time is passing too fast.  Where did seven years go?  How fast will these next ones pass?!

Ethan and Audra Ages 5 & 3

Ethan and Audra Ages 5 & 3

Ethan and Audra Ages 12 & 10

Ethan and Audra Ages 12 & 10

And then, while my heart was already mourning, I came upon this one from Lawrencetown in 2008:

Casey was never happier than when in the water – and she loved the ocean!

This particular memory was more poignant than I was ready for, as it had only been 2 weeks since we had faced the difficult decision to finally say our last goodbyes to our beloved dog.  In Casey’s last days, she was so slow that walks around our yard had become slow and halting – the true definition of pain-staking.  But what I truly mourned was what she was like in this memory – full of energy, life and joy.

Rocks we painted for when we bury Casey's ashes

Rocks we painted for when we bury Casey’s ashes

I had a good cry at Lawrencetown Beach last week (something I am quite certain I didn’t do at any other time there!) But yet it was glorious.  As I breathed in the ocean air with the sound of waves crashing in my ears, I wondered at the mystery of time.

How can seven years feel simultaneously like yesterday and a lifetime ago?  How can it be that in such a short time so much can change?  Kids grow up, people grow older, people (and dogs) leave our lives forever.  (I still hold true that if I had my choice of super-powers, I’d like to fly, and the ability to occasionally freeze time.)

I can’t ignore the sadness that still comes (about both of these trains of thought).  I can only focus on the two things I know to do:

1 – Be grateful for what I have, and the memories I’ve garnered along the way;

2 – Be as present in the moment as I can be.  After all, this moment RIGHT NOW is the only one I have any power over.

I can’t afford to let my life pass me by.  It’s easy to get busy, be distracted, or to numb out.  But I don’t want to miss out, even when memories hit me with such ferocity of emotion.

The funny thing about time is that one day – relatively soon – I’ll look back at these pictures of 2015 and feel like today was an eon in the past.

Me and Ethan 2015

Me and Ethan 2015

Me and Audra 2015

Me and Audra 2015

Family Hiking 2015

Family Hiking 2015