I used to walk (ok, hustle) to school in Wenatchee, Washington.
First, down Orchard Street to Orchard Middle School after we first moved to the U.S. (and after the kids recovered from their shock that I was the new girl from Jamaica and yet my skin didn’t match their mental pictures). Then, from Utah Court over to Wenatchee High… but most memorably down the crazy driveway and back up the neighbor’s horse access road to catch the bus in Sunnyslope. Like this*:
It being the early 90s, I listened to a lot of angsty Joan Osborne, Alanis Morissette, Pearl Jam and 10,000 Maniacs/Natalie Merchant on my rad Walkman. Most vividly: These are the days you’ll remember / Never before and never since, I promise /Will the whole world be as warm as this / And as you feel it, you’ll know it’s true that you are blessed and lucky…”
As a quick aside from that diatribe, I remember Mom watching out one particular window. I think I feel small bits of what she felt: my own palpitations at their departure, joy at the quiet time, unrest at both.
As a mom today, I spend far more time considering the departure of my kids, my own emotions and what my own mother must have felt in every fleeting moment. But that’s another story I’m fairly likely to address on another day.
And so I would trudge, and listen, and pine and such.
Today, we flew some kites during our spring staycation. In my mind, the thoughts collided:
Sophie as a three month old, paraded around a Mobile, Alabama po’boy dive by an effusive waitress while my heart threatened to erupt with pride and simultaneously disentegrate with protective, compulsive fear.
Ainsley, marching off into the world with all the confidence and self-esteem I wished upon her while I slowly die inside.
As we live the moments, I absolutely recognize that I often appear more busy chronicling than living them.
But then, late at night, I revisit the moments I just witnessed.
I get to see the way the sun shone on my pre-teen girl’s hands while she sat soclose to her baby sister and tried to patiently untangle the line.
I get to use modern technology to zoom in on the toddler’s sheer, happy smile as she simply sat in the golden grass.
I get to see the small dog as she bounds, captured in pure delight, from girl to girl.
And I see my husband frozen in one of hundreds of moments I am blessed to experience every single day: helping, coaching and guiding these girls so adeptly it’s as though he were made perfectly for this critical role.
And so, as in life, I know that often my role appears the most vivid and saturated.. social, predetermined, contrived. But in my heart, I know I have a secret and noble mission to quietly chronicle these moments.
And so I drop to my knees, grateful as they hit the dirt, fortunate that I’ve had each moment bestowed on me and so happy that the insufficient lens of a smartphone is available to me as I scrounge to capture each of these fleeting, perfect, innocuous, epic seconds before they scatter to the wind.
These are the days.
*Oh, that? That would be my sister Jo’s exemplary (signed) c. 1999 artwork of our Sunnyslope driveway. If I sound even a bit trite, I’m not: I adore it more than you can imagine.
Beautiful, Beth. So much of what we do as mothers is capture these moments and treasure them because we are acutely aware that they are so very fleeting. I love the photos 🙂 so so sweet.