Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fridge Family: A New Kind of Bulletin Board

I’m one of those people who had a bulletin board full of the important things in my life when I was 13. No, it wasn’t some picture of Jason Priestly torn out of Teen Beat magazine. (I will admit I did have his picture on my closet along with Candice Bergen on the cover of TIME magazine, because I wanted to be Murphy Brown.) Instead, it was full of pictures of people that mattered, awards that meant something, and the goals and dreams I held for myself. Let’s be honest though, I didn’t reach all those goals and some of those people I don’t keep in touch with anymore. 
The older I get the more I see pictures of people, different people and important to me in a different way now, taking up space in picture frames on my desk at work, around my house and on my refrigerator at home. They’re responsible for vacation days, compassion, heartache, and belly hurting laughter. 
It’s a new kind of bulletin board. 
The people on the face of my refrigerator I make an effort to communicate with often and see in person whenever I can. Whenever they can. 
They matter. 
There are people on my fridge, so they matter when I make coffee or tea in the morning, or if I’m reaching in for a glass of water, or when I’m looking for a midday snack. They matter and the older I get they matter more to me than those goals and dreams I held for myself. As they reach milestones, or their young families grow, they matter even more and take up more space on my fridge and in my heart. I cheer them on as I stand in my kitchen, so it takes a bit longer to make coffee in the morning.
“You know, this moment we’re having right now, it will never happen again,” a good friend said to me in October as we had a conversation we’d probably never have again. Perhaps not quite word for word, but you get the drift. It tugged at the heartstrings, and I realized... 
Moments matter. 
Moments matter and they remind you that all the time you spend chasing after a dream or something to become doesn’t matter as much. I don’t know about you, but “chased a career” doesn’t seem like a good title for an obituary or a tombstone. I’m not dying, but I will someday and am gradually learning that what I do for a living isn’t as important as who I am and the relationships I keep. 
One day, should grace allow it, I’ll have my own growing family and their faces will be on my fridge too.
So, I found myself kind of “chasing” moments. Imagine a young child running around in circles with one of those dandelion flowers you blow to spread wishes, and that child is running around and laughing because it’s just whimsical. What’s the point of just looking at the dandelion? Pick it up, squint and wish your little heart out, and blow. Then, turn your face up to the sun and experience the moment. Bask in the meaningfulness of it all for a second, and let your heart smile. These moments may be the best part of what wasn’t on that 13-year-old’s bulletin board. 
Now, I look at the faces on the fridge, my fridge family, and say, “Home is wherever I am with you.”

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