Yesterday a post came up in my Facebook feed that somehow linked me back to a woman who taught a literature class I was in when I was a sophomore in college. I remember her because I liked her. Also, I remember her because once, when I showed up at The Palace for an aerobics class, she was there too, with her small daughter. Her daughter was probably three at the time. And in this Facebook post, she says that all of her children are grown. Of course they are – college was a long time ago.
Also this week, a blog I read regularly featured a bunch of Easter egg-hunting pictures. The youngest girl in the pictures is probably eight or nine. I can remember reading about this beautiful little girl’s birth -- her mom blogged with such excited anticipation those last few tiring days of pregnancy. And now this baby has long, lanky limbs and hair down to her waist.
My own baby is coming home in a few days from her freshman year of college. I can still picture her little face in the rearview mirror, telling me all about her day at school, as we drove to piano lessons – those golden curls framing her sweet, dimpled face.
I almost feel like this ability to see down through time is a super power. I can see the tiny baby, and then scrolling through my memory, I see the three-year-old, and the nighttime fevers, the hurt feelings, those lucky moments when their day went just right, the newly-minted driver’s license, their first dance. And I get this sense that if I just look hard enough at this history that I witnessed, I’ll find something – like a secret, or a truism, or this one thing I’ve been looking for that I don’t know the name of yet. I haven’t quite put my finger on this grand prize. But if I do, I’ll let you know.
When I come upon evidence of childhoods lived and left, I feel a bit of longing accompanied by a surprisingly reassuring sense of peace. It’s evidence that those folks made it – that the small annoyances of everyday life didn’t weigh them down permanently, that unfortunate choices could be overcome, that a few bad grades are now long swept away. That love can endure and be passed along.
Did you guys watch the season finale of Parenthood? The last song -- "The Times They are A-Changin" by Richie Havens really hit me in the gut. I do like his version better than the original by Bob Dylan (but don't tell my Dad I said that. He's a real Dylan fan!).