The day is hot and beautiful. The kind of day you dream about in the throes of winter. Warm east winds create a rushing sound through the firs. At mid-day the back porch is shaded by a massive black walnut tree. Sunlight sparkles through the tree canopy on to the white Adirondack chair where you sit for hours.
With the baby. She’s nestled in her favorite spot. Asleep. Her cheek on your clavicle. Her hand clutching the ringed collar of your scooped neck tee in the center of your chest. The collar, you reckon, is splattered with spit up.
You believe that as you close your eyes in the moments before your eventual death, your memory will flash a series of scenes from your life. You will your brain and body to reproduce this very one.
There are chores abiding. But they can wait. Trading this moment for a basket of matched socks and a clean floor seems wholly unjust.
There was a time in your life that you would have put the baby in her crib and rolled through the list of chores. You worried about the future too much. And dwelled over the past. You slaked through the hard times by pushing your body to its limits. You never lived in the now.
Then life made it hard. It set you on a path that forced you to sit with the now and accept how hard it was to just be with unfulfilled desires. It demanded that you not escape into tough physical pursuits to exhaust yourself just so you didn’t think so much.
You don’t want to say life made you lose things you loved in order to teach you a lesson. But maybe you needed to learn something. Maybe you needed to learn to be present during the hard times so you wouldn’t miss being present during the so-very-good ones.
So you learned. Now you recognize the gift of these moments as they happen. You have learned to just be.