On Time

modern anatomy

Since we’ve made the decision to move, everything seems to be moving at a quicker pace. Actually, it could have started moving at a quicker pace when I found out I was pregnant for the second time; an allusion to what will come of two children underfoot. Like any good holiday weekend, we are spending time with family. Yesterday, as the grill was smoking, and music was playing (Nina Simone) my dad was in the process of fixing the old screen door. Charley loves my dad, his Pop-Pop, and was right there with him, with his own kiddie toolbox, a weathered paint-chipped yellow tackle-box my dad had given him. He is barely as tall as Pop-Pop’s knee, and took out his little plastic pliers, to match my dad’s real metal ones, to twist the door frame. There was much grunting and production involved. And I stood just inside the porch watching them thinking, These days are numbered, and it almost made me cry. Something about being a parent makes you see time more clearly, see that it will pass, that it is a constant. This is a comfort for stressful periods, when you think you can’t make it any further, and a sadness for happy periods, when you wish the night would never end. It’s striking me much more with this second pregnancy. I see my husband and our life together stretching infinitely ahead of us. We have so many memories yet to make, traditions to start. I want to make renting a beach house every summer a tradition, we’ve only talked about it for several years! We have our ritual of only $20 gifts for each other at Christmas, a chance to be creative and thrifty. And I see my past with my family, all the memories already made, history that won’t be forgotten. So many family vacations and apple picking trips, beach days, and snow days, and all the days in between. I am standing in the middle wondering, How did I get here?

There is truth to that Talking Heads song:

You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here? 

But perhaps I am feeling overly nostalgic because my brother, my LITTLE brother will soon graduate college, and when we visited a quaint Pennsylvania college the other weekend, and had lunch at a hipster café, I felt old. More than the extra pregnancy weight and the tiredness of chasing a toddler, I looked at the young college girls, so oblivious to anything else but themselves, and thought ‘I don’t see myself there anymore’. They were giggling, wearing their sweatpants to breakfast just rolling out of bed at 11 am, ordering their omelets with only egg whites, and nobody looked twice at my toddler running around.

I am scared of the day when weddings and births turn into funerals, and wonder when that day will come. When it does, there will be an irreplaceable chasm that opens up. I know there will be comfort in my own family, my roots I am just starting to set down. But I will wonder how I made it that far, and how I will carry on.