I had a wonderful experience this past weekend. I’ve been living in Palm Springs for nearly a year now, and my family—mother and two sisters—decided to make the nine-hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area to visit.
Their trip held two purposes: to see the new great-grand baby in Long Beach and to check out my new digs. I was a bit nervous before they arrived. Having to entertain a house-full of women seemed a daunting task.
I quickly got over my anxiety, and we had a pleasant two-day holiday, chatting over meals, touring the town, and playing dominos at the kitchen table. My family seemed to enjoy my house and Palm Springs. It turned into a delightful time for all, I think.
There was, however, a lesson to be learned in this visit. My mother is eighty-one years old and has a bad knee. The doctors want to replace her knee, but she prefers living with the pain rather than undergoing surgery. What that means is that she moves at a snails pace and we were severely limited because she can’t walk more than a dozen yards without increasing her pain. Combine that with my older sister—princess that she is at sixty years old, who slept in until after 10 A.M. and kept everyone waiting while she took hours to prepare herself for any activity—and I had the perfect lesson in patience.
My husband and I are both people who don’t waste time, who can be ready for anything in five minutes and don’t know the meaning of the term ‘leisurely pace’. We get there, do it, and move on. So spending hours waiting for my princess sister to pull herself together, and then moving at a snails pace once we were all underway, had me studying how life will be for Herman and I once we reach an age where we slow down.
It was not unpleasant. It meant, I realized, that you don’t try to accomplish twenty tasks in a day. You focus on achieving three undertakings, and you savor them. It was an important lesson for me to learn, I believe, because it will not be that long before Herman and I are there.