“I am breathless and frightened by the frailty of miracles, and full of the fact of our lives.” – Pam Houston.
That has always been one of my favorite quotations, and I thought about it a lot this past weekend. Gracie and I drove to Jamaica Plain to see Tyler and Lyle Crumley, and some other TPT friends, and we were listening to the (fabulous) CD our nursery school made. As Livingston Taylor segued from Twinkle Twinkle into “Our Turn to Dance” I felt the familiar ache in my heart, the sensation of how I need to be here RIGHT NOW, and how woefully BAD I am at that. The song talks about how it’s “our turn to dance,” and I blink back tears thinking about it is Grace’s turn to dance, right now … that’s all she is supposed to be doing: dancing, laughing, learning, being a child. How quickly these lighthearted years slip by. Already school feels more “real,” more serious, more structured. How fast fly the days. I was thinking about how this is LIFE, this moment, this day right here right now, with all of its joys and sorrows, its choices both complex and simple.
I must have been channeling Catherine Newman, AGAIN, because she remarks on a similar sentiment in her blog this week:
“And I’m remembering an email my friend Brian wrote me a couple of years ago, about his sons: “There WILL be a day when they don’t want to be carried up the stairs … But the idea that the last time will go unmarked and slip away without being cherished just made me so sad.”
I’m trying to hold this in mind when Ben wants me to put his socks on or carry him in from the car when he’s actually still awake or stay with him and Birdy while they fall asleep at night. I feel the familiar ripping-away impulse — the same impulse you might have if, say, a baby had been stapled to your bosom — and sometimes I act on it, whispering, “I’ll check on you guys in a few minutes,” and unwinding the arms that are boa-constrictored around my neck, loosening the very claws of love from the hem of my shirt, trotting out before the poor lonely bed-goers can make their emphatic case for my company. But sometimes I just lie there. Let there not be a last time, I think — a last time that slips away without being cherished.”