Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin
cswallow

When It's Too Late

Am I thankful enough? I am not a religious person anymore, but I believe that taking time for prayer is a way of giving yourself the space to be grateful. I went to a kitschy yoga class once, where the instructor told us to reach out with our energetic mind and embrace 1) someone we loved 2) someone who made us angry that day 3) someone we were grateful to.  My family doesn’t say grace, or even wait for everyone to sit down before we head in with knife and fork on the turkey and yam, but later when we are sated and still, I don’t doubt that we were grateful for each other and the food.
 
What startled me the most about this weekend was how slowly the hours went. Whenever I glanced at the clock, it was half a day earlier than I expected it to be. I’d follow Heidi around in the field at Santa Rita, drape myself over the passenger seat of my brother’s car to keep him company while he installed an underseat bins on the driver’s side, sit in an armchair opposite my dad (both of us on our laptops, clacking away). Refill my coffee. Examine the shape of my horse mug.  Just sit.
 
I wrote last that I wanted to work on better expressing my gratitude. It turns out, that having time to understand on the inside what someone has given you helps you to know them better. Ravi and I had coffee on Friday morning – we talked work, school, relationships and self-fulfillment. The past months had thrown my identity into disarray, sending important aspects of my personality into the quiet of uncertainty. Ravi woke me up and I am more myself than I was.
 
My parents and I take my grandparents to their friend’s 80th birthday party, and then hang around in South San Francisco, literally passing time – we eat, we walk, we go for a drive, we hang out at a bookstore, my mom and I duke it out on iPhone Scrabble. I remember what it is to be still.  My grandmother has been thinking about retirement homes and I banter with her on the drive: Your 90 year old sisters still live on their own, you don’t need a retirement home! You have too much free time if you are spending time looking for one! She giggles with me as she tries to convince me to move home after graduation, and I try to convince her to move to New York City with me.
 
And then the rush of good moments: joyriding with my brother, dancing with one of my best friends, being driven to the airport by my first dance partner, hanging out with dear high school buddies. Laying in bed at 6am, about to get up but first listening to the tick-tick-tick of the second hand, being wrapped in nothing but the even pace of time. And at the end, the sensation – forgotten, startling and utterly welcome - of my self turning outward as at last, at last, and all too late, because I am hugging my family good-bye and taking the homemade dinner my mom hands me, and my plane is leaving and I realize, 30,000 feet above a corn field somewhere, that I forgot to say thank you. 

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