It rained today. For two hours, it came down outside the building where I work. We had lightening, we had thunder, and–by the end, we had nice big puddles.
In the middle of a long drought, this is obviously lovely. But it’s also weird. Because, really, we don’t get rain in NorCal in May. We get rain in February and March. Except, you know, when we don’t. Except I’ve now made those statements so many times this May that they are becoming inaccurate, if not laughable.
But here’s the thing. Those statements have been true over the course of my life, the years of which now add up easily to the phrase, “many decades.” And while I totally accept climate change (and think irritated thoughts at those who don’t), still…there are the past few years of weather weirdosity against all those years when I actually knew the weather.
My son came home from his first year of college Tuesday. Which again, is lovely, and the fact that he surprised us made it even more lovely. We had celebratory ice cream. We sat and heard about his past couple of weeks, everything he did, everything that’s coming for him this summer and next year; we looked at his face and listened to his voice and knew that he is happy and–wow, I can’t tell you how happy that makes us.
I feel ready for this stage, with him building his own world and coming to visit, and my husband and I–oh, let’s say we’re retrofitting our world. But here’s another thing. While I’ve known him now for almost 20 years, I don’t feel 20 years older than I did before we met. I can close my eyes and almost be the woman I was when he was an infant, when I was amazed and awed but also–on tired days–wondering how I would stay myself for the next 20 years. I can be at his preschool drop-off; I can see him doing middle-school math homework; I can drop into any one of his highschool concerts. And yet, here we are. At this point. It is enough to make you not only believe in, but understand, science and science fiction ideas about multiple universes, about tesseracts.
I have multiple writing projects that are going well–a MG novel and several picture books. I am very much aware that I am doing some of the strongest (and happiest) writing of my life, and that all of these projects are stepping stones forward on my path. I know I have learned from every bit of writing I’ve done in the past, and I can walk backward and feel how long that past is–I’m up to many decades here, too.
But here’s one more thing. I remember lying on my bed as a tween, writing a short story about how George Washington really did tell a lie. I remember filling notebook pages with a set of horribly derivative and drivly chapters about an elf and a wizard, after reading a very tall pile of Shannara novels. I remember asking for and getting Phyllis A. Whitney’s writing books and feeling like This. Was. It. I was a writer.
It’s all jumbled together, you know? I can see the line of travel through all these stages–weather watching, parenting, writing. And I can erase the line in a blink, a thought, a Jedi wave of the hand. And yet, somehow, even with the muddle, every moment is a building brick to now. With the future mingled in there as well.
So, you know…pretty darned cool.
Very well said, Becky. My oldest daughter is about to have her first baby (I have 4 grandkids from step-daughters) and I dream about nursing a baby and remember the letter I wrote when she was born to my mother–thanking her for all the diapers she changed. TIme does have a way of melting together. “retrofit our lives.” great way of saying this!
Carol, it’s one of the oddest but nicest things about growing older, I think.