The thought startled me upon its arrival; appearing without so much as a warning, then taking up room to stay for what appears to be an extended period, easing its way into what was left of the peaceful ruminations in my mind.
I've met the point in my life, I am certain, where if time stopped tomorrow, I would be quite well with it. No longer do my tomorrows hold promises of something new and exciting, or even, honestly, anything that I greatly anticipate or look forward to.
I recall, with great detail, as a child how time was met with such an eager force; the special days on the calendar marked with bright circles: my birthday, the first day of school, Christmas. I also recall, with great detail, the first year that I dreaded the holidays and willed myself to not feel as such. Truth be told, they've been a lie since that year, I just try to fake it for my family. If I could have anything for the holidays, it would be simple innocence again. It would be to believe, if just for a minute, again, with the faith of a child, in anything.
I am mercilessly aware that without fail, if time continues to be mostly kind and my children continue to thrive, one day soon, Big A will awaken and be taller than me. It will happen as it did the morning that I reached to her wrist to kiss the last of her baby fat, only to find it gone, leaving in its gaping wake a gasp and sob and a woman weeping in the shower who had to leave two meetings that day in order to compose herself.
Little A will become not so little and there will be a day, somehow, despite my strongest wishes otherwise, that I will no longer be able to hold her to me. I will reach to pick her up and it will not be possible and I will try to smile and make light of the fact that she has grown so much as my heart will be breaking into a thousand pieces inside of me.
My two aged dogs will one day very soon, most likely be leaving this home that they have made with me for the past sixteen years, and I am telling you simply: I cannot bear this thought. I will be wrecked, permanently; scarred in ways that will not heal.
My career cannot get better, at least not to me on the levels that matter. My accomplishments are enough, what I want, what I want so very badly is to have this life, for life.
I think of my grandmother, who within this year alone has already buried her husband and two brothers. I think of my grandfather still and cannot remain composed; it is an ache, a wound, a missing piece that I am beginning to recognize will not come to be filled.
I cannot help but think of the progression of time; I try to speak of the beauty of the world to my kids, the gratitude I have for our lives, the love that I have in my heart, and the words come out not as words, but tears. I stare out the window into a place that doesn't exist anymore, Big A asking what I'm thinking about. I'm afraid to answer that I'm thinking of how I miss sleeping with my sister and the sound of her laughter and the comfort of knowing that she was there, even on the nights that I hated her deeply for being such.
I am, most likely, by some outsider and all insider accounts, a verifiable mess. Big A said to me the other day, "Let me know when you're done with your mental breakdown," as I stood sobbing in the kitchen over the thought of nothing in particular, but time in general.
The best, friends, is no longer yet to come.
The best lies asleep in their beds at this moment.
The best sits next to me under our willow tree as we watch the dogs and girls run about.
The best lives in my memory, riding the imaginary school bus in our hallway, towels used as our flowing hair.
The best lives spreading out a blue flowered quilt under the summer sun with a picnic basket and reading to me repeatedly storybooks.
The best exists within Tiger Stadium, not Comerica Park, the 1984 Tigers running rampant around the bases.
The best drives a red lumber truck down a dirt road that exists no more.
Time, you son of a bitch. If I thought it would make a difference, I'd beg and plead and bolt my doors and rip the calendars from my walls and smash the clocks with my clenched fists. But knowing that you are as merciless as you are steady, instead I will continue to try to smile through whatever it is that is happening to me, and hug my Queens and express my gratitude for what I've been given in this lifetime. You've broken my heart and I'm going to wear it on my sleeve, a warrior's badge, tattered and torn, but still mine to wear. You won't take that from me as well.