Two mornings a week I drop Finn off at a half-day preschool. As we walk up the stairs to the front door, I always look to my left, and I see the same sight every time: an elderly couple, sitting in their sun splashed screened porch, reading the paper. Their two fluffy white heads are pressed close together as they snuggle against each other on the couch. Sometimes they are still there, doing the exact same thing, at noon when I pick Finn up.
I wondered what it would be like to be at that stage in life, all the hectic demands of work and children behind them (in my fantasy for them they have four children, all grown now, and living far away). Are they restless? Bored? Serene? Free?
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were having a date night - dinner without the kids - at one of those cheesy chain restaurants. The kind of restaurant where every inch of each wall is covered in sports memorabilia, old Coca-Cola signs, pop art and framed prints of front page newspapers.
There they were - on top of the world for that moment in time. Almost eighty years ago. I bet when that flashbulb flashed, captured their triumphant smiles, they felt like that moment would never end. Now they are both gone, although their legacies (for better and for worse) live on in lore, nailed to the walls of cheesy restaurant chains.
The thing is? It goes fast. I want to pull up a chair next to the old couple reading their newspaper and pepper them with questions: tell me about your greatest moment? Is there one greatest moment, or does it all just blend together in one indecipherable blur? How fast did it go, really? Does it feel over? Does each day feel ripe with possibility, or just something to be endured? Do your memories make you wistful? Sustain you? What do you look forward to every day?
I'm sitting here typing this blog today because I have too much to do. I'm frozen with the sheer number of little details, deadlines and obligations that are tugging at me from all directions. It feels, on some days, insurmountable... but then I remember how last Tuesday felt insurmountable, too, and now I can't even remember why.
I know last Friday at this time I was arriving in Ojai, California - embarking on what would become a life-changing weekend for me. It feels like all I did was blink my eyes and it's seven days later. I'm tempted to wallow, to moan about how un-special today is, how I wish it was last Friday, instead.
But this Friday is special, too, because I can't ever live it over again.
Yes, it's a special day indeed.