I used to write.
Constantly and continuously.
Like breathing in and breathing out. I wrote. In journals and blogs and letters and cards – long essays and stories; short perfectly crafted emails; for pleasure, for introspection, for work. My life was filled with the beginnings of ideas jotted on scraps of paper or margins of more formal notes for work.
My entire understanding of the world came through how I wrote it down.
But I have realized – completely – I don’t write anymore.
In March I sent in the deposit for a membership to the local private swim and racquet club that I had been saying for years we should join. I told no one – not The Mr, not Jr., not Dr Sissy or my parents. I just filled out the membership, got the confirmation, and held it in my head as a signal that I believed better days were coming.
And the school year ended – summer opened up for us like a blooming carpet of possibilities, leading us to find a new level of freedom in the outdoor spaces Colorado does so very well.
With few exceptions, Jr and I found ourselves at the club every day – weekends were marathons with fully packed coolers and gallons of SPF used. Weekdays he would amuse himself around the house until I wrapped up my workday and we found our way to our favorite table in the late afternoon shade.
It was our happy place. Our safe place. There in the uncrowded expanse of the pool deck, with space to spread out and ample access to snack bar soft pretzels, we could frolic fully without sacrificing our care of the work and the warnings from Dr Sissy and BIL and all of their medical professional counterparts who were (and still are) pleading for caution as we navigated our newest version of “normal.”
There were other activities too – lunches on the patio of our favorite local haunt, backyard happy hours with our favorite winery friend, and long weekends for Jr and The Mr spent with my parents at their condo in the mountains while Binky the aging wonderdog and I enjoyed the silence of a temporarily empty house.
It was supposed to be our in-betweener summer. “Outside good, Inside bad” was the motto, and we felt like we were so far away from the previous summer spent circling our little neighborhood and floating our tubes in the extra large backyard paddling pool. We were on our way to Jr returning to school safely, and in the meantime we were just lounging in our little oasis – me refilling my mimosa while Jr practiced his front flip off the diving board endlessly.
Life was good.
But it staying that way wasn’t in the cards, was it? I started to see the worry and hurt overtake my sister and brother-in-law on our frequent Duo calls again. Nervously glanced at the calendar as the first day of school crept closer. Did my best to temper Jr’s concerns about upcoming changes in his world.
I have been blessed with such a kind-hearted kid. Actually, I would bet we all have – kids are amazing, aren’t they?
He wants to know everything (sometimes he thinks he already does,) and he wants to try everything and he wants to show people how to care about others. Which is awesome, but is also a lot. Goodness knows as a grown up, I certainly haven’t found a way – so instead we took advantage of every last minute of summer we had together.
The day before the school year started, we found ourselves out in the center of the pool, Jr on his watermelon floatie, me whirling him around and around playing “washing machine” as he likes to call it.
I spun him away, laughing and waving as he floated just out of reach – and he momentarily stopped smiling and paddled back quickly.
“Mom – don’t let go. Spin me and spin me – but hang on.”
And so I did – and there we were – just him and me hanging on to each other – laughing and spinning in the sun and willing time not to move and stretching the moment out into forever.
I knew I wanted to write about that moment – to capture it and keep it and hold a piece of it.
But I don’t write anymore – because writing it down won’t keep tomorrow from coming, won’t let me protect him or anyone else I love. Won’t make the world kinder or the truth less terrible than it really is.
And because like all who are not entirely consumed by selfishness, and like our world itself, I am forever changed.
Still, somewhere in my mind and my heart – him and I are spinning alone together in the clear blue water, sun on our faces, not letting go.