See this picture?
I can't convey the nostalgia this picture represents for me and my husband. He took the kids out of the house today so I could sort socks -- which takes longer than fathomable -- and sent me pictures from their adventures. This one, of our littlest, got me. Caught in a rare resting moment, sipping on the hot chocolate I sent along with them (which, as it turns out, was their lunch; oops), she makes me happy just to look at her. I look at this picture and I know that despite our yelling, despite our particular brand of dysfunctional family, we are giving these kids a good childhood.
But that's not what gets me about this picture. It's the background. Because I can see where she is, at exactly what point along the trail around Lake Anza she is sitting. And it's a spot as old as the memory of my courtship with Rick, a spot I first came to know because of this other being we used to take care of:
Time whooshes by. Cherished dogs die, children grow up lightening fast, middles thicken, hairs gray...it takes my breathe away. Ever feel like you can't catch up? Like the world is speeding by and you've been too busy sorting socks to notice? Well, actually, I don't usually sort socks, hence the need to spend a good part of my afternoon doing just that, but something else then, something that takes up your time and keeps you from seeing what's happening right before your very eyes.
The older I get, the more I realize how complicated life is, and how much we need to cling to the simple, to the good dog, to the thermos cup of hot chocolate, to the hike in the woods, to the little tiny person who will not be tiny for more than a blink of my eye, to my spouse, the only other person in the world who truly understands our own version of complicated.
Socks and beer and a quiet house have rendered me a little mushy today. In about an hour, they will return, back from a place that someday will have as much meaning for them as it already does for me and their dad. Approximately three minutes after they return, I will be irritated with over 50% of them and wishing it were still quiet here. But right this minute, I can't wait to grab them when they come in, smell Tilden Park in their hair, and hold on to simple, uncomplicated love.
* * *