The month of May has been a whirlwind, bookended by Finley’s birthday at the end of April and a flurry of deadlines at the end of May. I can’t quite come to terms with summer being so soon upon us.
I guess I thought I had more time to plan.
“Time to plan,” the universe laughs. Cancer diagnoses amid friends of mine, divorce, depression, all lined up next to images of new babies and themed parties, all of which remind me how very little hand we have in anything beyond finding wholeness in the moments we have.
Dutifully I start the day thinking:
Today I won’t let myself get bogged down.
Today I won’t try to do too much.
Today I’ll let it roll of my back.
Most days it doesn’t go according to plan, instead I try to manage the minutes, forgiving myself seconds after berating myself. I wince at the thought of some of my internal conversation being heard aloud.
Over the weekend Sean asked me what I wanted to do. “Would you like to write?” I shook my head, “I can’t.”
“Do you want to work out? Lay low? Hit the road?” He waited. A part of me longed to putter around the house, organizing and purging, maybe even writing. Lately though, I get so distracted and my lofty ideas of letting go of baby clothes or books melts into weeping over a box or leaving an upended box on the floor while I arrange the bottles of lotion and perfume on my dresser. Getting out would be good. I said, “Let’s go.”
The farther we drove, the weaker the signal became on my phone. I put it away, leaned back into the seat and listened as the girls chirped excitedly about the swimming they’d do at the lake. When we finally pulled in, the window at the parking attendant booth had a note, “Due to unforeseen staffing issues the booth is unattended. Enjoy at no charge.”
I smiled, maybe we were meant to be doing this, being here. As we parked the girls clamored to get out of the car. Finley and Briar darted to the playground, while Ave sprinted to the water as I staked out a spot for us. Sean walked out to a spit of land to look at the lake. I kicked off my shoes and let go of any expectations.
I watched Ave from my perch on the blanket. She is changing and her shape that has become so familiar, is suddenly different, but still entirely hers and one that I know. She is taller and leaner, her strides less of a stumble and her opinions less influenced by anything beyond her own preference. It reminds me of the moment they lay her on my chest in the delivery room after announcing, “It’s a girl.” We hadn’t chosen to find out the gender, but I immediately called out, “I knew it.” I know this person she is growing into with increasing speed.
She stayed at the water’s edge for great lengths of time and then would sprint toward deep water, attacking the surface before diving down. Each time she would surface with a smile, before swiping her hair from her face. Her pale skin, dark hair, and red lips were so pronounced it felt as if I were watching a character come to life through a writer’s description, “her lips a flash of crimson along a pearly expanse of cheekbone, beneath strikingly dark blue eyes, her wild mane of hair dancing in the wind. Not long now before her face is making someone’s heart race.
Later I watched Sean paddle with the big girls as Finley lingered by the shore with me. So many parallels in this photo to their ages and where we are as a family. My heart aches nearly constantly. I thought for a time that it was pain, but I think it’s joy, just as I think my absence of words are a gift. Living in ways that words can’t yet emerge, loving in ways the heart can only articulate through tugs.
If you are feeling helplessly quiet or inexplicably weighted with something that you can’t define, maybe stop trying. Be patient with the words, understanding with your heart, and, perhaps most importantly, less demanding of the minutes and how they end up passing. They’re yours to have, even if you don’t spend them “productively,” I think some minutes are just meant for being.