There’s an expression, a day late and a dollar short.
For us this would be more like 15 minutes late and a few dollars short. (Fifteen minutes, the going rate of lateness for school; few dollars, the amount I short-changed your class mom when, collecting money for an end-of-year gift, I evidently handed her a wad of singles from my wallet instead of the neat fold of the correct amount I’d prepared, the equivalent of just handing her something random…”here you go, a piece of gum”).
Yes, my babies, your dear mom here has been struggling. With time. With days of the week. With names. With gifts. With mountains of laundry. With summer plans.–We must get together!–With dinner (boil, water, boil! It’s 6:30 already and I started to cook too late, come on!) Things get slashed from daily to-do lists (which are more like wish lists). Start novel? Tomorrow. Shower the kids? I can clean this paint off her cheek with a paper towel. That can wait for tomorrow, too.
Using that cork bobbing in the water analogy, I feel like I am constantly treading to stay afloat… when will I finally get there? Peek my head above the water, just coast?
When can I do that? When?? And the bigger question, what am I doing in the meantime that I can’t???
…”Wait, one more thing!” I blurted to your father yesterday while driving, trying to maximize the whole minute I’d actually caught him live on the phone.
“What’s that? I have to go…”
“Let’s get bikes, Denby.”
And so I ended the call and drove us home from school, passing things from a church to a golf course to a rite aid on my right…clinging to this image…
Your dad and I on bikes, and you guys in those seat things on the back…helmets on…gliding around our neighborhood on a sunny Sunday morning…up the hills…down…weeeee…
Because there’s the life you want to live. And then there’s the life you actually live. And sometimes, you have to remember to bridge the gap between them both.
I don’t know if we’ll ever get those bikes. If you’re even too big for those seat things. If I can even ride a bike being the last time I did I was in love with Kirk Cameron and it was circa 1989.
But you can’t get caught up in the nothing that eats these precious days.
You just can’t.