last nights

The last night of summer is always bittersweet. 

I’m filled with a mess of emotions, so much so that my chest seems swollen.  The sadness of losing the freedom & ease of summer days with my two favorite girls.  The excitement of seeing friends & work family each day again.  The eagerness for the comfort of the familiar rhythm of “real” life routines.  The thrill of the return of daily challenges & creativity.  Apprehension at the memory of the stressful, fatiguing weekly workload.  And the amazing, heartwarming joy I feel every year as I fall in love with a new batch of 40+ babies. 

Summer’s return will come sooner than we think.  On that last night, we’ll look back over the year & see how time has flown. Our babies will be taller, smarter, and a just a little bit less our “babies” than before.  For a while, I will wish I could rewind and go back, praying for just a little more time.  Knowing that’s not possible, I’ll remind myself to love the moment I’m in.  

And so tonight, on this last night, I remind myself to be grateful for this night.  Love this feeling.  Celebrate this mess of teary-eyed smiles, nostalgic laughter, and school girl anticipation.  

This — these nights, these feelings — is the stuff life is made of, and it’s beautiful.

 

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Pretty ladies, all in a row.

As I meandered from sporting goods to baked goods, my therapy quietly continued.  I counseled, questioned, probed and lingered in my uncertainty, more acutely aware of my private conversations with myself than the merchandise staring back at me.

I absently placed an eyebrow brush in my cart at the very moment a compelling desire to look myself in straight in my eyes overcame me.

Look at me when I’m talking to you.

With an unexplained urgency and my feet planted firmly on the commercial tile, I searched out a mirror.

The mirror aisle.  Between picture frames and lamps.

I don’t know what I expected to find there.  Direction?  Truth?  A visual connection to the person with whom I’d been confronting?  Answers?

What I found was my feet, slender and feminine in my tall wedges.  My red toenails and narrow heels.  My small ankles and bare calves, slowly stepping toward the edge of the mirror and disappearing into the shelf behind it.

I recognized my chest, peeking out of my soft v-neck knit, brandishing it’s spring tan.  Those were my shoulders, broad like my mother’s.  The shoulders that, together with my neck, shares burdens with my heart.

A skirt, smooth over my thighs, made an appearance next.  It flowed with my movements, casually and comfortably hiding secrets underneath.  That was me beneath the brown cotton before me.  Me.

And then I recognized my face.  My own disheveled bangs, immediately drawing my fingers toward them, resting on my brow.  My eyebrows, black and defined, framing my own lonely eyes.  My pale, naked lips.  My nose.   My chin perched atop my neck.

How is it that each piece of the puzzle can be so familiar and pleasant, yet the parts as a whole are so confusing and strange?  Those ladies’ feet, legs, shoulders, and faces were graceful and feminine.  Their posture confident.  Their face calm and peaceful.  Yet, I am doubtful, hesitant, and tormented…with a lowercase t.

These pretty ladies, all in a row…perhaps one day I will be more like them.