There’s nothing like a life cycle event to get me all wobbly. My glorious nephew (like I would have any other kind) had his Bar Mitzvah yesterday. Seeing the slide show at the party last night — pictures of him as a baby, pictures of my boys as babies, pictures of my former sister-in-law, of blessed memory — reminded me so deeply of the passage of time, and of how having children has changed my relationship with the passage of time.
This frame of mind is helped along by other factors as well. My beloved voice teacher, Emily Lowe, died this week at age 85. I drove the kids through my old neighborhood this morning. Thinking of how many people I used to eat Spaghetti-O’s and listen to Shaun Cassidy with are no longer with us makes my heart sore. My father, who accompanied Emily many times, is also shaken by her death and talks about the end of life in a different way these days.
I am grateful to have so many interesting memories, some of them lovely, some not. I didn’t have such a great childhood — I was never a child — but still, it’s mine. These atoms add up to the story that I tell myself and sometimes I’m shocked to see just how many atoms there are now. And still I can’t see what shape they make.
Too frequently I am just getting through: cooking, answering questions, cleaning (well, a little), making plans, packing picnics. All in the service of checking something off some cosmic list or getting to the next stage. Maybe this is the next stage.