Just Like They Always Do

How beautiful she is, the way I see her running in the park.

And then I am fumbling on my keyboard, because I actually typed was, at first.

I realize she most certainly was running, and she is running, still.

That’s my daughter. She was, and is, and will always be running with her arms outstretched.

There is this troubling thing about writing in the past, the present, and future tenses. How does one truly capture everything, when time is so fleeting?

I am finding this to be true about life, as well.

Sometimes you feel so engaged in your understanding of the past. Like, you really see it. And then you are touching down in real time: right now.

You’re threading your toes through the gooey muck, the great dirt of time, so it gushes and oozes in a pleasant way between your tiny appendages, and you are so happy to be here.

Then, there’s the future. It’s coming at you at 100 miles an hour, blowing your hair back. You are alive. It makes you feel exhilarated, in an almost uncomfortable way.

She is with her friend. The sun is going down, and they see me on the deck. They know it’s time to head home and I don’t have to whistle, but I do. Just briefly.

My daughter is having a sleepover tonight. It’s the first one for which I really didn’t have to do much.

By that, I mean I spent a significant portion of my day cleaning the house. I provided a warm welcome, and invited the girl’s mother into our home at drop-off.

I said they would go to the park, where I can see them. Then, we’d have pizza and snacks, and I’d take care of breakfast.

At nine and ten, these kids don’t want for much; they just want to hang out. I said if she would return around noon tomorrow, that would be great.

When she left, and the girls tumbled off together, I wasn’t sad to be alone.

I did some writing, and chores. I tried to be a good hostess.

But then, after dinner, my daughter and her friend went to head upstairs, and I was suddenly pained because it was not me going with her.

Just as I had the thought, she returned, and kissed me gently on the forehead.

She said, “Thank you, mommy,” and smiled as she walked away.

I turned to watch her go, but before I could say anything, she had vanished down the hall. It was happening too fast for me to absorb.

In an instant, in a flash, she was up the stairs and gone.

Somehow, though, she is still running toward me, in the park. Her arms are outstretched, and then they were. On some level I know they always will be.

These moments come and go before I even have time to process them, just like they always do.

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