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What I will not get to see

January 14, 2015

I have taken photographs of my son every day of his life. The images scroll by—smiles, frowns, a pout, mouths frozen in screams.

But he is already half my height, and yesterday, when I drove by a school, I watched the children at recess and thought about all the things they do that their parents don’t see, all the experiences that go undocumented as they emigrate to adulthood.

Life slowly fades like an image in bright sunlight. There is no reversing it—I already miss what I will not get to see.

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The now

January 8, 2015

He scrimped and bought a small bunch of chard, some broth, a box of pasta, but it was enough for dinner. He had unearthed a bottle of wine he had stashed away for a special night, and he’d lit a candle to cozy the small room.

Are you more afraid of what might come later? he asked. Or of losing touch with what came before?

She didn’t like to think about either, she admitted finally, but only because she’d had too much wine. I would rather just stay in the now, she said. I like it here very much.

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Fighter of Sleep

November 17, 2014

He fights sleep with furrowed brow, pursed lips turned down. He rages against it, scratching my face and grabbing my hair as if his tight grip will wrest him from the grasp of Nod. But we are learning each other, he and I, and his nightly storms are like those roll in before baseball games in the summer. This is all going to blow over, my friends and I said, driving toward the stadium through thunder and lightning and sheets of water. His storm passes, too, giving way to smooth-faced sleep, his arms relaxed beneath the swaddle.

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Intersection/reminder

November 16, 2014

I saw a photograph of an intersection shrouded in fog, and remembered parking there once, long ago. It had been clear when I nestled my car in line with the others, but by that afternoon, mist enveloped the city and it would be awhile before I could discern things properly again.

It is a good reminder, this photo, this fog, this memory of other times when the next step might not have been so obvious. We don’t always know what lies around that curve, up that next hill. We don’t always forecast all the joy that is to come.

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Steam burn

November 12, 2014

The kettle’s lid no longer holds true, so it should be no surprise when it clatters over the pouring stream of boiling water, past the awaiting mug and onto the counter. It should come as no surprise when the steam from inside the kettle escapes all at once, then, and envelopes your fingers, curled around the handle, and leaves pink splotches that sting the rest of the day. There is so much, now that hurts without warning, so many small, unpleasant accidents that leave burn marks on body, on soul.

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Water burn

November 8, 2014

Have you ever seen water burn? he asked, and she shook her head, because everyone knows water doesn’t burn, but, rather, turns to steam, and that was when he struck a match and tossed it toward the lake below, and the flat water lit, making a sound like someone punched in the stomach, and everything she had known to be true evaporated before her eyes.

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Vigilant

November 6, 2014

She had not needed to make the bed the next morning—she’d only laid down for 10 minutes, and even then, not slept. She had nodded off at her post at the window once, losing minutes—maybe even hours—while her head drooped, chin to chest, and her hands finally relaxed.

She wasn’t sure what she waited for, or how it was different than what she’d always wanted, but she knew it was coming. She knew she’d recognize it when it arrived, but she had to be vigilant. She did not want to miss all the good things to come.

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