Perhaps it’s because we’re standing on the edge of summer, facing with open arms the change that summer brings to a household.
School is replaced with free hours to fill with lemonade and adventures, high-fly balls to left field at twilight and long talks on the deck in cooling night air. Instead of backpacks and English assignments, the kids are keeping track of swimsuit bottoms and batting gloves and glass jars to hold captured insects.
Perhaps it’s because we have our first graduate.
Eleven years ago, the summer before she turned eight, she determined she would go to summer camp. Funds were tight but she earned the money for camp fees by selling perennial starts dug and potted from my garden to neighbors and friends. Now, she’s scheduling her classes for next fall with two years of college under her already.
She’s a high-school graduate, but she is, as usual for her, progressing at a pace all her own: full speed and syncopated and fascinating.
Perhaps its because I have an aging cat in my house and aging parents 1500 miles aways with needs I can’t meet and don’t fully understand.
The life I live is busy, full, and honestly a happy one, but the days fly like the geese that gather over lakes and school play fields in November and take off with speed and determination to southern climes. I sometimes resent my open hands as I see time slip through them and resent even more my memory that fails to hold it all in clarity. I resent the limitations of my self, my body, my long-healing broken leg that still forces me to ice and elevate when I’ve overdone it.
My parents, my kids, my writing, my life…and though I keep saying “my” it’s really not about me, but the people I love.
Perhaps its all this that compels me to search for a pause button and stay in summer 2013 for longer than normally allowed without the pressing reality that the very air crisps of autumn just after Labor Day.
Long gone are the days of my childhood when an afternoon might stretch its legs into the far reaches of eternity, where boredom lolls and yawns like a dog on the floor.
Each day demands a plan and preparation, driving and trying to get there on-time. Each day, I fail a little (sometimes more). And any given day, as it closes in fiery aplomb on the western horizon, takes with it the unique opportunities of the minutes and hours it brought with the dawn. I watch the sun set and see the missed opportunities, like golden, trailing tendrils of a long-haired girl, trounce and fly and follow the sun into darkness.
And it’s over, that day.
It doesn’t seem to cause the soul to ache and the gut to hurt when the children are young and busy discovering the world from their two-feet-tall perspective. But when the children are planning for Global Literature and dorm life in the fall, when my mother’s voice cracks with fear and loneliness through space and into my cell-phone, when the cat is refusing to eat and wears the death-mask of the old, my insides hurt and my arms try — too hard — to grasp hold of it all and try (and fail) to make every moment count.
Because making every moment count is a fallacy. An impossible dream of the deluded. I can only make count the moments that I catch, or that catch me.
I can only ponder and savor the things I’m awake enough to take in with my senses:
the too-big white teeth in Nikko’s ready smile,
the kitchen kisses from my husband in the midst of dinner preparation,
the counting of all six of us laughing over some stupid thing we collectively find humorous,
the piano playing that’s learning to sound like music,
the random pirouettes in the hall,
the messy house that is marvelously lived-in.
These I can catch and treasure.
And I can remember that the preciousness of this life lived will be consumed in entirety by the great hope of that future that causes me to shake in uncertainty yet stand solidly upon, for it’s reality gives purpose to every moment experienced on this side of the Great Sunset of time:
“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakeable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” Hebrews 12:28