Night before last, I had a Beatles mix playing on i-tunes as I prepared dinner. Sydney was oblivious, enveloped in her after-school rituals, but every now and then Evan would scamper into the kitchen to shake and shimmy to the more upbeat tunes. I watched as he clapped and shuffled; he watched to make sure I was gazing appreciatively. (I was.) "Yellow Submarine" came on and Syd wandered in to sing along and engage me in a brief fantasy of what life would be like if we all lived in one. I turned back to the stove and realized I was experiencing a moment of pure joy. I'd had one of those moments a few days before, as I lay on my back in the grass at Audubon Park after my first 3-mile run in over 8 weeks, gazing up into the blue, cloudless afternoon sky. This moment at the stove, though--this was a different kind of joy entirely. This was the kind of moment filled with joy but also sadness and fear, of that gasping realization of the fragility of it all, the impermanence--a moment filled with the recognition of everything that can go wrong, all that might not have been, all that might happen. I heard my kids bickering over a toy. I stirred the pot of boiling noodles and the moment was gone.
"All You Need Is Love" was playing and almost instinctively I called out to Sydney. She came into the kitchen with a "what did I do now?" look on her face, and I scooped her into my arms and started rocking back and forth to the music. I felt her wiggle and strain for the smallest second before she realized what was happening and then I felt her relax against me, nestling her head in the space between my shoulder and neck. We swayed together, silently, for however long it was, I have no idea, and then I looked down and there was Evan, watching us with his crooked little smile, and so I bent down and scooped him up and he nestled his head in my other shoulder and it was just the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. I don't even mind sounding corny because damn, good fortune may be fleeting and blessings come and go but memories like these--they last forever.
Happy Mother's Day, ya'll. We are lucky, lucky people.