« It's true what they say about time | Main | Artemis and Orion »

Of moments, not milestones

Remember when we measured our days by what milestone was coming next? As a kid, didn't you impatiently count down the days till Halloween, then Santa, the last day of school, summer break, your birthday? I did. I couldn't wait to become a teenager, go to high school, learn to drive, find my first job, spend my first paycheck. 

I imagined my first kiss so many times. The real kiss, all sloppy and awkward, was nothing like the one in my daydreams. But that's how a lot of these milestones unfolded, right? I failed my driver's test the first time, I miscarried my first three pregnancies. Our oldest came out limp and barely alive at birth.

Even as a teenager, I was aware of how quickly time seemed to be moving, but that didn't stop me from always looking to the next big event: senior prom, high school graduation, college, getting married, having a baby.

What happens when you've met all the milestones? 

I'm not sure when exactly I started living each day instead of wasting it in anticipation of the next, but the miscarriages and Esme's precarious birth definitely changed my perspective. My brother's seven-month fight to cheat death and my own menopausal freak out only confirmed what I'd come to know: we only have this moment. 

For weeks now, though, I've struggled to live it. I've been unsettled by the feeling that summer is almost over. The kids weren't even out of school when it first started. Slow the fuck down, I felt like screaming. Everything in my garden seemed to be blooming at once and I wondered what would be left come August. I filled the June and July calendars on the wall with yoga classes and swim meets and races and birthdays and trips and looking at it there in black and white, it seemed so… small?

On the first day of astrological summer, before we'd even enjoyed the longest day of the year, friends noted it's all downhill from here. The light is fading fast, the dark winter descends. 

I just want to tell myself, tell everyone, to shut up. Stop it with the racing forward, enjoy this day with me. Look at Desmond with his buzz cut and missing front teeth. Watch how Esme teaches Tobias to dive and float on his back. Look at Josephine practicing her strokes, over and over and over and over, back and forth in the pool like that for hours. The garden smells like tomatoes warmed in the sun and it's quiet underwater in the deep end where I swim by myself. 

Reader Comments (3)

The last sentence is exquisite. It encapsulates, summarizes and leads the reader on toward the path the whole essay recommends.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHusband of the Goddess

Thank you -- I feel the same and even though classes will start for children come September, my summer will not end until that first crisp air wafts onto my skin. I look forward to August and swimming in the deep quiet end.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMLM

Oh how I love to read your posts; you have such a way with words. I too love the last sentence and will enjoy every last drop of summer. I live on the east coast of Canada and our summers are short so we have learned to enjoy every single second of warm weather :)

Enjoy Dana :)

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVivi

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>