Something new happens every seven years – or thereabouts – someone told me once. It’s true. Look back and tell me if I’m wrong. Every seven years, something shifts.
What’s taken me longer to understand is the now. What’s taken me longer to understand is myself. I bury my head in the day-to-day and plant my legs just so, to keep me balanced when the storm comes, which it will, of course, every seven years if not more and –
In between times, I forget what I’m missing. I forget how the sun feels after winter breaks, how silence sounds as I slowly wake, how coffee smells on automatic brew.
During those seven years, I forget what it is to breathe air into the bottom of my lungs, to sing loud like no one’s listening, to catch eyes with a three-year-old on the train without her mom catching on, to play peek-a-boo between stops, that chocolate smile, baby teeth.
And after each seven, when I feel my breath leave my body, moving freely in and out as the train whizes by overhead, I notice for that second –
How exquisitely the sunlight flashes across your cheeks, how gently you hold our daughter’s hand, how perfectly our lives come full circle every seven years
When I look up.
My heart beats the rhythm of desire. Every seven years, I fall in love again with myself. With you now, too. With us.
I stamp this place and time, fill space with sound . . . So loud . . . so loud . . .
Then I forget again.
* * * * *
Seven years ago, I pushed our daughter up the hill in a stroller with one hand, holding a fresh cup of coffee in my other. We giggled. She held her toy. She grabbed my hand to show me, pull me, tug me closer, closer, closer to each flower, each spider, each puddle on the ground. She played with my eyebrows, my ears, my nose. Her little hands wandered all over my face.
Lately, this is how our conversations go:
“Guess what, Mom.”
“I had a dream last night…”
“Oh? What was it about?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“It’s a secret.”
“Do you want me to tell you?”
“If you want to tell me, I’d love to hear about your dream.”
“What are we having for dinner?”
“I don’t know, sweetheart. Ask Mama.”
Sometimes, there are variations. Tuesday, it went like this:
“I don’t want to talk about recess.”
(I had asked her absolutely nothing.)
“Do you want to know why?”
“I want to know why.”
“I don’t want to tell you.”
“Well, if you want to tell me later, I’ll be here.”
But last week, she said:
“I got in trouble in class today.”
“Can you tell me about it?”
“I was being silly.”
“Was it hard for the kids around you to participate in class?”
“Did you find a way to stop?”
“That’s great! Can you think of another time in the school day when maybe you can be silly?”
“What about recess?”
“Mom, no! Not recess! We talk about important things at recess.”
And here we are inside another seismic shift.
Yes, we are here. Now. Just before, or just after, the change.
We play Boggle. I braid her hair. She shows me a book she made in art class, the story of a dancer-gymnast swinging over the mud, who climbs a super-long scary rope up a mountain to get home. She is so relieved to be home. She changes her muddy clothes and puts on a yellow dress. My daughter beams, showing me.
Sometimes, there are no words. Sometimes, there is only now.