Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

P Publisher’s Point by Jean Loxley-Barnard
What Have I Missed?


I woke up wondering what else I might be missing in my life. I had slept on my brand new mattress for the first time and it was not at all the experience of the last too many years of nights. Why, I wondered, did I wait so long to buy something so basic to my much needed rest? And I know I'd not have it yet if Bedroom Discounters were not my client.

I've bought a lot of things I've wanted after getting to know my clients well. I had new windows put in after seeing the whole Windowmaster setup and doing a story on the Dulkinys family. Then, while doing a story on the Ostrands, I sat on a mattress and . . . one thing led to another and last night I had the best sleep in years.

It's not only getting 'things' that we put off. Sometimes people die before fulfilling a dream of cruising to Alaska or finally seeing Hawaii. I've had many wonderful vacations across this country over the years, but my husband has spent much more time working than traveling. The first time we went to Marco Island, Florida as guests of our best friends, the Thompsons, I thought I might have to leave Terry there. He has this wonderful child-like ability to enjoy - fully enjoy - a new experience. He makes everyone's vacation better just by seeing his enthusiasm. Joy is contagious. I'm reminded that it's time to plan a summer vacation today.

For 2 summers, we took the whole family to Nags Head. It's time to do it again. We found a house with 7 bedrooms and 5 baths and it fit everybody. Of all the fun things our grown kids and their kids did, the best part for me was when we all sat in the Gazebo on the ocean and listened to comedy tapes, laughing and talking until midnight under the stars. We want to go again this year, wishing we hadn't skipped a single summer. Traditions are so important in a family.


I don't want to 'skip' anything anymore. Whenever we skip an opportunity, it's gone forever. Especially with children. They grow, they change.

It's far too easy to put off spending time with children. How easy it is to turn on cartoons and leave them with the electronic babysitter. I'm too guilty of that myself. When I do set aside time to spend with my grandchildren, I've found it best to do simple things. It's not necessary to schedule a formal good time. My grandson Logan loves to eat out at the Sunrise Breakfast Shoppe, 'where we get those great sandwiches with sausage and egg!' he describes when he asks to go back there. We just sit and talk and eat those sandwiches and carve a bit of time out just for the 2 of us.

Heather, my granddaughter, is 14 now and we've always liked to shop together. Last year we spent an hour and a half trying on every bathing suit in a store. She thanked me repeatedly for my patience in waiting so long to find just the right suit. It was my pleasure. What could ever be more important than finding the one suit that lets a teenager know she looks great? And how better to fill an afternoon than in hearing all about how a loved one's life is going?

Sometimes we spend important time with someone when the occasion is not fun. I went to the Emergency Room when a friend called on a recent Friday night. I stayed with her there until we knew her son would be okay and then I followed her home to talk until I knew she was okay as well. It was one in the morning when I left and she said, 'There aren't words to say thank you.' I thought how very fortunate I am to be the one she called. It's an honor to be someone's very dear friend.

We choose how we spend our most valuable commodity - time. There have been times in my life when I wrote everyday. I am happiest when I make time to write everyday. Time flies and I am transported to another world through a keyboard. Why then don't I write everyday? When we do what we 'have to do' to the exclusion of what we 'want to do,' we miss too much of life. The older I get, the more aware I am of years passing that I can never recapture.

I'm not going to buy everything I see that I like and I'm not going to spend my retirement savings traveling around the world. I'm not going to spend every weekend playing with grandchildren or every vacation with family. But I am going to weigh each opportunity and each desire carefully. I really like my life and I'm going to like it even more, missing as little as possible. I wonder if my really great new mattress brought all this about?

Publisher's Note: I had one of the best commentaries on my column ever, e-mailed to me from P.H. who ended with the words, 'Not authorized for publication.' I guess he read my mind because I would love to have shared it with you. He commented, line-by-line on my 'Mother or Not, I Have Me' column in our May issue. He was flattering to me, but his own writing, elaborating on the topic, was just wonderful.

Over the years, I've been encouraged by so many of you writing or calling with nice comments on how something I wrote made a difference in your lives. It's why I write and hearing that it is worth something to you means so much to me.

Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.