In my life, I am oblivious to the inevitable. I move along, trail markers plainly alerting me to what lies ahead and, yet, when I arrive at the destination, I am unprepared.
Just as the low, heavy ache of summer should be divined from spring’s shy rituals, I feel that I miss life’s cues — like I am walking backwards, unaware of the cliffs behind me.
When our middle daughter was newborn, she slept beside us in a bassinet. She was a still sleeper, never squawking or shifting.
At five months, she began fussing in the night. I wondered if she was crowded in her bed and I decided to try her crib, in an entirely different room. Separate from me. What was I thinking?
Her very first night in her own room, she slept through till morning. I panicked. I didn’t really want this to work! What is that saying? You rarely know when you are doing something for the last time.
When our kids were small, we needed a van for family travel. At each unloading, I would attend the vehicle’s side door, offering help and mediating squabbles. To an outsider, our van probably resembled a clown car as wiggly body after wiggly body emerged.
One day, we disembarked at my in-laws and I didn’t wait. I headed inside ahead of everyone. As I was discounting my unease, our middle son sadly observed, “You’ve never done that before. You’ve never gone ahead of us.” A new era.
But, the moment that forever altered my concept of time and seasons had to do with my stepdaughter, our eldest.
There certainly had been warning signs, times when I should have realized where we were headed — like when my friend pointed out that our daughter’s jeans had become high-waters because I refused to acknowledge that she was getting bigger. Like when she got her license and went to proms.