I have been missing my mom lately.  I find myself wishing I could call her up to tell her something I know she would enjoy.  She was born on New Year’s Day and this time of the year my sibs and I tend to talk about her and what we remember:  concern for us, her voice, her laugh.  

Mom on L'Esperance
Mom taking time for time on L’Esperance.

Several years ago, a French friend explained to me what it meant to “make time for time.” It’s a lovely expression for an all-too-rare practice: making time to appreciate the time we have on this earth. The occasion then was a visit to France with my mother.

When my mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness, my husband asked what she wanted to do with the time she had left. She chose a barge trip in France. (Who knew?) My husband, brother and I took her on the trip of a lifetime—six days on the small, luxurious private barge, L’Esperance, meandering along a beautiful Southern France canal while we enjoyed being together.

Half of my heritage is Irish Catholic, and I am inclined to look at the world as if something terrible is going to happen any minute. If it isn’t a natural disaster such as an earthquake, it’s the loss of someone I dearly love. Now, three years into a global pandemic, those fears don’t seem so crazy.  I feel strongly that I need more time—time to clear up misunderstandings, to make amends, time to make sure those I love know what they mean to me. 

Luckily, I–and all of us–still can to do that.  Mom lived an unexpected three years after that trip to France, long enough to return to France with the rest of our family for one more barge trip. While we considered Mom’s unusually long survival a gift, her better gift to us was that we, together as a family, learned because of her the value of making time for time.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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