On Saturday the last of our three children moved out of the house to pursue her career and start her life as young adult living on her own.
As I was packing lunch for everyone who was helping with the move, I was struck by the thought that life can be defined by the size of your picnic basket.
As a young married couple we start out with a small picnic basket. After all there are only two people who have to eat and drink from the contents of the basket. This is the time when the picnic basket is filled with exotic and new things. There are new tastes to explore, new experiences to enjoy and new places to visit.
The first child is born and the contents of the basket changes completely. Life is now filled with wonder, love, excitement and above all hard work. If a picnic is even contemplated, it usually is a hurried and simple affair as there is another focus in life.
One day the baby is big enough to join the picnic and the size of the basket, as well as the contents grow and grow and grow according to the number of children. Instead of exotic, the contents become practical, healthy and numerous. The experience however, is filled with laughter, fun, games and the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of a child.
As the years pass and the family grows, so does the size of the picnic basket. It has to expand to accommodate not only the children of the family, but also friends and friends of friends, maybe necessitating even two baskets.
The day dawns that the children leave home to live their own lives as adults. Then the picnic basket becomes small again, big enough for only two mugs, two sandwiches or biscuits. Maybe this is the time to revisit old memories or explore new places and experiences, a time to sit back and reflect on life and plan for the new phase that is starting now.
I am thankful for the years gone by, for three children who grew up and became productive and well-adjusted adults.
But most of all I am thankful that I am not alone and still have my husband to walk this new path with me and to enjoy the contents of our small picnic basket with.