I was standing a the local field last Saturday, watching a bunch of 7 year old girls play soccer on a beautiful, crisp fall morning. Finn was running wild along the edge of the forest surrounding the field, chasing a friend. I look at Greta - she is playing near her team's goal, and the action is at the other end of the field. She is spinning in place, arms spread wide, looking up at the sky. I hear Finn giggling behind me, "you can't catch me!" he squeals to his friend.
It is just a simple moment in time, but it strikes me. These are some good times, I think. Life can change in the blink of an eye, and it is so easy for me to forget to wallow in the ordinary.
It has been an unusual week. People from various stages in my life have been in touch, because they saw us on Oprah and tracked me down. People from high school, from a place I worked over 15 years ago, from the last job I had before having Greta. It's odd thinking about the version of me they knew, and it has me thinking about how things change, but also how they stay the same.
At each stage in my life, I thought things would always be the way they were then. It's human nature, I think, to believe this. At least it's my nature. The free wheeling days of high school, long lazy summers at the beach with friends, a first love. My roaring twenties, as I like to think of them, when life revolved around the weekend - parties, getting together with friends, moving from one adventure to the next. My early thirties, feeling like I was on top of the world, giving presentations to boards of directors, flying all over the globe wearing a business suit and carrying a laptop.
"We had so much fun then, didn't we?" said a friend from my first real job.
"You were so buttoned up and quiet!" said another from my last professional job.
"Those were some really good times," said an old flame from high school.
The other day a good friend of mine said, "we're in the middle game, now." My mind took a snapshot of life today: school aged kids, 40 years old, life full of carpools, soccer games, birthday parties and homework. Then I thought to myself: I've never liked the middle. Soaring highs and sinking lows? No problem - at least it keeps things interesting. For years there was always the Next Big Thing to look forward to: getting married, buying our first house, having a baby. It's a pattern with me; I'm always thinking what's next?
"We're living in tomorrow's yesterday," I heard someone say recently. It struck me, because that it what I do far too often - look back, or look ahead, instead of looking at right now. Somehow, it is easier for me to appreciate my life today when I think of myself as an elderly woman in a rocking chair flipping through a photo album full of pictures of me as I am today.
So I'm trying to embrace the middle game. If I get to play out these years, uneventfully but happily, I will be a lucky woman indeed. I'm trying to grasp moments that will pass too quickly: Finn climbing into my lap, cradling his blanket and settling in for a snuggle, Greta rolling in a pile of leaves, laughing, an affectionate glance from my husband over the dinner table.
All the beauty in life as it is right........Now.