Touchstones set the measure for all subsequent work.
Will I ever do anything more important than the work I did raising children? And did I do as good a job as possible? You would think so if you met my kids ... she said modestly. But of course, like everyone, I made mistakes - big and small.
This month in my altered book/journal my goal was to remember more about the years I was a mother, since all of that happened, really, to another person.
I would do it again if I could. I once heard my sister say that, and my mother, and I wondered at their sanity. Now I know they already knew the secret: Children leave home but not your heart - and certainly not your arms. Our wish to hold them again and smell them, like any mother animal does - our desire to experience the joy and have a chance to correct perceived mistakes - all of that pulls at us. Part of that, of course, may be the desire to be young again and delay our life's mad dash to the finish line.
My kids are accustomed to my "unusual" ideas - like having them sit in my lap for a picture. If you have small children listen to those elderly know-it-alls around you and believe them: Enjoy them while they're young, for the time goes by so fast.
Decide what your own touchstones are and pay attention to them.
(Scroll down for a larger-sized picture of the lap-full of kids.)