When I was in the fifth grade, I somehow stumbled upon the wonderful book “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. It was probably my friend Sue who lead me to it. She was my literary mentor and hero; she read more books more quickly than anyone else in my world. I followed her through the library that year and many that came later. Fifth grade was the year when I fell in love with books, and the year when I fell in love with the idea of time travel. I still love them both. I have read more books on time travel than on any other subject I can recall.
Mostly, of course, I am happily secure in my time. Sometimes as I walk the woods around my home, I wish that I could see these same forests and streams 250 years ago, when Europeans were just beginning to settle here. Sometimes when I teach my class about the American Revolution, I wish that I could stand on the banks of the Concord River and look at the first North Bridge, as it stood in April of 1775. But most of the time, I’m fine with my very own time. Really!
Its just that once in a while when I am not paying strict attention, time seems to slip just a bit, and I hit one of those “wrinkles” in the ribbon of my life.
This morning I was walking the dogs. I walked around the block, and down a few streets, hoping to get some of the energy out of our poor cabin-fevered pups. As we headed back toward the house, I wasn’t really focused on the here and now. My mind was wandering, slipping forward and back again. I thought about the upcoming gardening season, and what I should plant. I tossed around some new ideas for my classroom, and wondered how to reassure the parent who doesn’t feel comfortable with my use of an on-line discussion board for homework.
I thought about dinner. I thought about new shoes. My mind was happily jumping around, as it only does when I am truly relaxed.
As we came down the street toward our property, I steered the dogs toward the break in the trees that we used to use to move our old camper in and out of the yard. I took the little shortcut back toward our house, happily looking around for signs of spring.
I stepped out of the trees, and onto our big patch of rye grass. My eye fell on the spot where the ground slopes down into a natural, sandy pool. And before I could catch up with it, my brain thought, “Maybe this summer the kids will……..”
And I was suddenly and profoundly reminded that the kids are gone.
Like a slap in the face. Like a dousing of ice cold water. Like the sound of derisive laughter.
The kids don’t live here any more. They grew up. They don’t play in the yard, run the sprinkler, dig in the sand.
How did I manage to lose track of that fact, even for a second?
I think that it was just a little wrinkle in time. It isn’t that I still grieve for the days when I held them so close. It isn’t that I feel unready to move into the next part of my life. I live a full and busy life in the here and now. I am not always looking back. I’m really not!
But just for a little moment there, just for a brief second, I saw my kids in the sunshine before me. I saw them laughing and running, getting ready for summer. I saw them.
I stepped into a little wrinkle in time.
10 thoughts on “A wrinkle in time.”
That part of your life was such a part of your life for so long. (It’s all I breathe some days.) It doesn’t just leave when they leave the house. Though my kids are still young, 6 and 9, some days when they’re at school and I’m driving somewhere, I’ll see something really cool and shout to an empty backseat. They’re just always in the back of our minds.
You will continue to see them even years from now. My boys are in their forties, and I see their smiles and laughter every time I look at their pictures. But especially in my grandchildren…their faces, their voices, their mannerisms, behavior…and it is a joy. You’re going through the hardest part of raising children…letting go. But the best thing you can do for them now is to enjoy your wonderful memories of them, knowing you did a good job, and take pride in how they turned out and what they are now accomplishing.
Thanks for your support. I keep surprising myself at how hard I am finding it to let go. I know intellectually that they are happy and ready to fly. I know intellectually that it is time for them to be on their own. But emotionally? I just don’t wanna let them go!
I don’t want to let go either and mostly because I like them as much as I love them. I enjoyed how you combined a great book with a great happening in your life. I haven’t had that experience but everytime I do something, I think about what it would be like with the kids.
My daughter facebooked this week about this being the first time in ‘forever’ that she wasn’t helping with our annual Fat Tuesday Pancake supper. I wanted to cry because in that moment, she cared that she wasn’t here. She thought of a good memory of home. Does that make sense?
It does!! It makes perfect sense!
I can find myself walking on air for days after one of my boys sends a text about some little detail of life that he wanted to share.
And I spent all day today with my Mom and my daughter…..the younger wanting to help me to care for the elder. How sweet is that?
You and your daughter obviously share similar connections! How lucky we both are!
And the beat goes on…
Well, better those wrinkles than the others I think
Every time I drive by to bring Allie to her friend’s house, I look at your garden and remember the hours Jake and Tim Tim spent there skating. It makes me smile. And one of these days, I’m hoping you’re outside so we can catch up, starting with a hug!
I would love that, my friend!