i am, after all these bedtimes and all the tender kisses on someones’ heads, and all the litany of thank-you prayers, and all the one more drinks of water, all the questions that could not wait till morning, all the tucking in of sheets and smoothing blankets, all the one last peeks from there at the doorway before i too turn in, give in to sleepy eyes and sleepier limbs, i am rather practiced in the art of letting go one slice of time, waiting for the morrow.
and so it is with this sweet year, the one now toddling off to sleep, to be forever tucked away up high in the closet full of rememberings.
before, though, we bid it off, i felt inclined to curl up here for one more bedtime story hour. to look back on all the days and all the nights, to sift through time, to hold it close while its hours still are warm, still are beating with a waning pulse.
good night, sweet year, good night.
good night to year of boy turned six, and boy turned four plus ten. good night to year i myself ticked across mid- century. good night to year one boy lost a baby tooth, and the other lathered for a shave. a first for both, same august weekend.
good night to year we thought we lost the spring, the year the snow and ice came tumbling down–in april. but hallelujah, resurrection came. in the form of sprightly daffodils who would not be put under.
good night to year we kept a watch on papa sparrow and the missus, watched them flit from here to there with bits of sheets and string, even squares of calico, to build a nest, lay an egg or three, and give a fateful flying lesson. which landed, oops, a bit abruptly, and rather not-so-softly, on the bluestone stoop that might not have been considered in the sparrow flight plan.
good night to year in which we practiced paying attention–kept an eye on molasses light, listened to a summer’s rain, considered the march to death of the 17-year cicada.
too, it was the year in which we listened–to the unfiltered questions that pour from five year olds, the bedtime fears and butterflies on the brink of going off to school.
we listened, too, to the sound of breaking hearts when the news beyond our walls came rushing in, and wasn’t pretty. not at all, at all. and not today, especially.
we held the hands of friends, held them as their mothers died, their fathers fell, and marriages collapsed.
we held our breath as well. held our breath as children couldn’t make it up a mountain, and fell and skinned a knee. again and again. but managed, somehow, to get back up, keep climbing, showing what they’re really made of.
we lost sleep over worries we could not fix. and fears that wouldn’t slink to the back of the closet. where we wish they’d curl up and fade away. and not come out again some rainy gloomy day.
but somehow, somewhere–maybe in the quiet of the winter’s first thick snowfall, or in the dawn after dawn when only the pit-a-pat of the typing keys broke the morning’s silence, maybe then–we discovered bits and pieces of our selves, and our soul, that had been lost for quite a while.
i, for one, found myself not being quite so filled with shame and fear at the mention of my long confounding struggle, the one in which i’ve come to understand that to feed myself–feed myself well, mind you, not stingily and wrapped with make-believe rules–is not only necessary but rather like dancing with the divine, three times a day. or at least it can be.
and speaking of the divine, i believe i found again my mooring in a foggy harbor. the mists are lifting now. i know what i know, and i’ve come to understand the power of a story, and a hero who has stood the test of time and centuries upon centuries. never mind the hierarchy–and history–that, God forgive, got in his way.
i found here–right here at this table–a community of true friends. ones who’ve heard my ups and downs and sideways, and still they come, pull up a chair. sit a spell. spill their stories upon my story. and at least we know that we are not alone. we might be the only one on our block, or in our little town, who thinks and feels the way we do, but somewhere out there, somewhere where this table reaches, there is, thank God, a someone else.
a someone who believes in home and heart. someone who believes that what unfolds at the kitchen table matters deeply. someone who keeps an eye out for the divine in the every day. in the scarlet flash of the cardinal just outside the kitchen window. in the full moon rising, or the crescent moon hung low.
all in all, i’d say, ‘twas rather a full year. and fully it was lived.
no wonder it is time for bed. and the year–and i, as well–seems rather sleepy. here, let me take you up the stairs. time for prayers. and then, lights out.
g’night, sweet year. and thank you. bless you for these sacred holy hours. and all the joy, the sorrow even, that they brought our way. can’t imagine having missed a single minute of the story. life itself, would be the thing we’d lost. and that, i’m not willing to surrender.
not a minute, not a second. not a single snippet of this sweet year, now settling into slumber, on its way to dreamland.
sleep tight, sweet year, g’night.
we’ve all weekend, and all of monday, to whisper our goodbyes and thank yous. what, most of all, comes spinning through your mind when you think back on all of ‘007? we’ll look ahead soon enough. for now, i’m wondering what of this blessed year you will forever carry with you?