What is a defining moment? Do we have more than one in a lifetime? What actually constitues a defining moment?
I believe that defining moments happen throughout the course of our life so yes, we have more than one. Some are definitely more profound than others. Some make us laugh, while others make us cry, but we are shaped by these moments. They have an impact on us. They play a big role in this story of life. Sometimes, it's easy to overlook the small ones because we are searching for the one "BIG" one, but those small ones are none less important.
Some of the "big" defining moments in my life are things like my paternal grandmother dying when I was 11. One of the things I remember most about that day are being pulled out of class (I was in 5th grade) and watching a single tear fall down my dads left cheek as we were driving to his parents home. Yes, that's right, just a single tear from his left eye. I don't recall seeing him cry again and in some ways, I suppose seeing that made me feel I needed to not cry also - to be stoic. That thought could lead me into a whole other realm of realizations, but I will do my best to stay on point.
Another "big" defining moment in life was coming home after my second year in college, dropping my bags and announcing (yes, that's right - announcing) that I would not be returning to school in the fall. It was a waste of time and money and if I could just have a chance, well - that piece of paper didn't make me better at anything. Again, stoic, my dad sat there and looked at me, put down the paper he was reading and told me that was fine. I could have a job for the summer and a place to live, but when everyone else went back to school, I would no longer have that job or the room in their home so I had three months roughly to figure out what I was going to do with my life. And....yes - I knew he was serious.
This process of him having cancer, going through treatment and the aftermath I will also probably consider a defining moment. Partly because another chapter is coming to a close. You see, my dad has been an attorney for 47 years and he is in the process of closing that part of his life - of our lives. 101 W Washington in St. Francis, KS was a home away from home in many respects. We all spent many hours there at different times of our lives and it provided a way of life for us. It provided stability and a comfort as well as a thorn or two. It will be bittersweet when one day we are no longer able to come and go through the doors as we please, but it's a part of the process of life.
I don't want to be sad about that or those other "big" defining moments in my life. And so I won't be and I'll share some of the other definers - I became an aunt for the first time on December 8, 2004 and for the second time on January 10, 2006 and yet again on August 14, 2008. Those were amazing days! I started massage school on my 40th birthday in January of 2009 and found something I had no idea I would find. All of those defining moments have also led me to where I am today and in all reality to a place I never thought I would be with feelings I didn't even think were possible. You see, through those moments, I've learned a lot about myself as well as others. I've learned that I can love more than I ever thought I was capable of and understand more than I ever wanted to. I've learned how to be close and yet, stand back. How to be encouraging without overpowering. To give room for others to grow and develop. To come to the realization that although I may want to make everything happy and peaceful and loving, there are opportunities in the struggle and that each one of us has our very own defining moments because each one of us has our very own story. And that, my friends is a part of the beauty of life.
Go out and relish the defining moments in life. Live and tell your story!