Friday, October 22, 2010

Special Day

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.

One morning I sat in my car in the school's parking lot and watched them, my head swimming with all the details of my day.   There they sat, silently taking turns flipping the pages of the newspaper, occasionally sipping coffee or moving their lips in conversation.

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.

On the wall next to our booth was a framed front page article  about the Red Sox winning some big game (forgive me, sports fans, for I know not what it was) back in the 1930s.   There was a black and white picture Ted Williams and Tom Yawkey (then President of the Red Sox) in their glory days.

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.  

This morning I gently rubbed Finn's back and whispered to him that it was time to wake up.  He stretched, rolled over, and his little round belly peeked out of his Spongebob Squarepants jammies.    He blinked twice, rubbed his eyes, and said sleepily, "Oh, good.  It's you.  I love you.   Can we have waffles?"

Yes, it's a special day indeed.


  1. I love old married couples. Gives me hope.

  2. That moment with Finn is so sweet. Children really do make everyday special.

    I feel the same way about cute old married couples. I want to know about them, to glean from their wisdom, to understand where they came from and what their lives have been all about.

  3. oh, how sweet. both sides of the spectrum of life...

  4. I am in love with your blog. You're a special person. You really are! Hugs.

  5. I really want you to go ask that couple those questions and tell us what they said. I bet they'd love to share their wisdom.

  6. I love old married couples. Gives me hope.