This past week, I drove up the east coast with my parents to Syracuse, N.Y. to visit my grandma as she underwent chemotherapy.
Our trip was peppered with reminders of how much our family has changed in recent years. Some of our most sharp and quick-witted family members moved at a slower pace. Loved ones that once were at the top of our list to visit, were no longer there. It seemed at every turn, was a reminder to not take my youth, health or life for granted.
My parents both grew up in Syracuse, but my family moved away when I was nine - so, most of my memories there are from my early childhood. After visiting my grandpa in the nursing home, my mom took me for a drive past the house that we lived in when I was born.
My mom seemed taken aback when she saw the large plum tree that engrossed the entire front of my parent's first home together, "I just remembered - we planted that tree when you were born. Dad and I both talked about bringing you back here someday to see how much it had grown".
This trip was a clear example for me of the brevity of life and the mark that time leaves on each of us as we age. Yet, I found comfort there, staring up at that sprawling plum tree... Even during the toughest times (perhaps, especially during hardships) there is always opportunity for growth.