Numbered Days


Right now I feel incredibly keenly aware of how finite these particular days are.  I’m already more than halfway through my years with Grace living at home.  How is this possible?  I’m already seeing Whit blush when I kiss him goodbye on the playground.  They still hold my hand when we cross the street, but for how much longer?  Mere minutes.

A while ago I wrote a post about things whose days are numbered.  Almost all of those things are gone now, and even reading that piece brings hot tears to my eyes and a tightness to my throat.  These days are sliding through my hands even as I try to grasp them.

The truth is that all our days numbered.  Every hour is running out as we revel in it.  Isn’t that the very definition of life?  So maybe the intensity with which I long for these days even as I live them is about the fact that I so passionately adore this season of my life.  The aching loss that’s threaded through every hour is simply the flip side of the deep love I feel for right now.  I have never had one without the other, and they seem to be directly correlated.  The more joy I feel in a moment, the more pierced I am by my knowledge of its swift passage.

I’ve made some difficult decisions lately that reflect this growing sense of how limited are these sunlit hours.  What I want is more days at Crane’s Beach, more long notice-things walks, more evenings reading Harry Potter with my children curled beside me, listening raptly. I want to be here right now, this ten year old, this eight year old, this very early spring.

But I can’t have this without letting go of other things.  It is hard for me to admit that I have to choose.  This is the difficult, unavoidable truth of something I have long maintained: our only true zero-sum resource is time, and how we allocate this, our true wealth, is a direct representation of what we most value.

And I choose those three people in the picture.  Above all else.

29 thoughts on “Numbered Days”

  1. What a beautiful pictures to accompany such wise words. Transition is never easy but trust yourself. It sounds like you are making important choices…

  2. This gave me chills. It is exactly how I have been feeling lately. I read on a blog once that our hearts soar and ache as we watch our children grow.

  3. My heart ached having read this. My Grace turns 10 in a month. I know I have precious few years left with her at home, my only child. I think of it daily. And cherish these moments…

  4. Was just writing with a friend this morning about the truth that are greatest gifts are also our greatest liabilities. The trick, I think, is to use them (whatever they are) for good–as you suggest here.

    Having to make choices is a wall I am also crashing into this week. But reaching the same conclusions. Still hurts. Crashing usually does.

    Reading your other post (of things whose days are numbered) just about brought me to tears. Sometimes (when I’m not using my gifts for good), I can believe that motherhood is just one long story of loss. Today I’m telling myself a different one, that it’s one long story of treasures. For each we have to drop, another one falls into our hands.

  5. That’s what I am trying to do … doesn’t slow them down, but at least I know I’m not squandering them.

  6. You’re so right. Crashing generally hurts. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by all the loss involved in this undertaking, too. Thanks for reminding me to also make sure to see the treasures. xox

  7. Every time you make one of these decisions, the way you deliberate and, ultimately the way you treat yourself after making the decision, will be a template for Grace and Whit. I think it’s ok to let them know some decisions hurt, just don’t be afraid to show your joy and relief.

  8. Oh this photo. Love so much about it and the four of you. I respect you for making the tough decisions.

    I think of some of my own life choices–especially since becoming a mother–and can relate so much to the struggle which you describe.

    I’ll close with Rilke:

    “Ah, the knowledge of impermanence
    that haunts our days
    is their very fragrance.”

    (Sonnets to Orpheus II, 27)


  9. Now I’m crying. I often find myself saying I choose the people under my roof first and foremost and above all else. But it’s the sacrifices we make to spend that time with them that give those words credence. I’m at a point where I have to learn to stop saying Yes to everything. I have to say no because every time I say yes to someone else, I really say no to that group I live wit…who happens to be the most important gang of men in my existence. XO, beautiful as always.

  10. Thank you. Yes, I think often of that sort of flip adage of not being able to hear what a person is saying because their actions are speaking too loudly. I want to put my time where my mouth is, as it were. Hard to do.

  11. When my kids were young like yours I remember wondering how I would ever make it without those moments. Now, in the midst of teenagehood I wonder how I will ever make it when they leave…and I watch how life unfolds itself sometimes so gently as to make the process the tiniest bit bearable. But those small moments…they stay with me in my mind’s eye forever.

  12. Oh Lindsey!! This came at the perfect time. All winter I have been fighting time tooth and nail and guess what? I lost. I too have to choose and it’s not for punks. I know you chose right because I know you chose with your heart, which has reasons that reason cannot know.

  13. I just found your blog through Allison’s. So thankful to have come across some wonderful writers blogging about parenthood.

    One is never more frightened than when on the precipice of choice.

    Peace to you.

  14. Lindsey, I am really struggling with the same double-edge. Rainbow Girl is turning nine in a week and I keep breaking into tears. I love this stage of my life, at home with my kids, writing, homeschooling, mothering, more than anything else. Ever. And it seems, always, like it’s slipping by. What to cut? How to balance? I’m trying to figure it out, but I never quite get there.

  15. I know. I have certainly not figured it out myself. I’m not sure we’d ever feel like it wasn’t slipping by, you know?

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