This week I had a near miss. The gynecologist’s office called to have me redo my mammogram because there was a lump present. Every woman’s worst nightmare and one that becomes a life transformation for one out of seven. After a few harrowing hours I learned that it was benign. A new lease on life. The sky seemed bigger and the relationships that define my life so much more precious.

Valentine’s Day this year was another reminder of this. The longer you love someone, when you finally get the hang of it, and living together is more a gift than a challenge, you become completely aware of just how short this life is. How little time we actually are given to live what matters to us and to love as many people as we can in those fleeting moments.

This weekend taking my eldest child off to visit colleges, look into dorm rooms, try to help her imagine a life on her own. I can’t say I was envious of the bathroom share situation, but I did flash on what a short time ago, I was beginning a life of my own.

Mostly we realize how precious this time is when we are faced with its ending. It all comes rushing over us like a waterfall, or the first huge dip of a giant roller coaster. You feel it like a wave crashing in every cell of your body, the fragility and beauty of a life that just ten minutes ago was a continuous problem solving event. I don’t want to lose touch with the feeling that reminds me to pay attention to everything and I also don’t want to be sad about it. I long to find the place inside that celebrates each moment, finds joy in the daily tedium, that loves all that I can.