Monday, July 25, 2005

Birthday Reflections

Today my son, Marshall, turns 11 years old. It's got me turning reflective. When you first give birth to a child all you can think about is all the wonderful things you want to give him and that you will be a perfect parent (of course) and mold a perfect child.

Sitting here with eleven years gone and only seven to go (with this one, anyway)I'm feeling a bit battered, much less confident, and in many ways regretful.

Somehow in spite of me, Marshall is actually a wonderful eleven-year-old. He's kind, intelligent, creative, polite. Nothing shakes him. Sometimes I think he's altogether oblivious to darkness and pain. It's too much to hope they'll all be this way.

Loss of time is one of the saddest things I can think of. Life will never be again what it is right now. Time moves forward, limiting the future, even as the past is forged in stone. In the ten minutes I've been sitting at my computer I've just determined a little portion of my past and eliminated all other possible activities for these ten minutes. In doing so, I've also eliminated possibilities for the rest of my day. Which means that every day, month or year that passes, unnoticed, spent living in the same disinterested way, I'm designating a past to this one life I have to live and severely limiting what I can do in the future.

For example, I *could* (in theory anyway) be patient with my children from now on and never raise my voice or speak hastily or out of anger. But even if I managed to do that, I still don't have the possibility of never having done that. I've already determined, to a large degree, what kind of mother my children have and will have.

I'm sure this thought is supposed to motivate me to "make every moment count" but somehow it just depresses me.

Anyway, you're welcome for the cheery post. I've got to get over to my sister's house to cook Marshall's birthday dinner (Chicago style pizza) since my oven still doesn't work right.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite (and well-known) Robert Frost poems, which the current topic put me in mind of. I hear people snobbishly complain that rhyming poetry or poetry following form is outdated and trite. I disagree. I think poetry yields a certain unique beauty by confining itself to rules and regulations, yet still saying exactly what it wants to say. (Now I'll step down off my own high-horse.)

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


laura said...

Happy birhtday Marshall. My the grow up fast. Pretty soon he'll be getting married (okay, I won't get ahead of myself here).
All I can respond to you is that you should make every moment matter. I met with a good friend tonight for dinner (she will be moving far far away this weekend) At first I was dreading the thought of seeing her. Not that I didn't want to, I did. It's jsut that seeing her and talking to her about her move finalizes everything. It's telling me my friend will soon be gone. I decided to not do that. I rememeber someone telling me that I can also change my day around. Every minute, in fact every second that goes by is an opportunity to change my behaviour, attitude, etc. It's all about making that conscious effort.
I didn't intend on this sounding like a big lecture, tho I think it probably does. That's all. I'm off my current soap dish;)
I hope you had a good rest of the evening.

Rachael said...

Thanks, Laura. The dinner went well. The pizza was almost fit for a bonafide Chicago Pizzeria. Then we took the boys to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".

As usual, I find I have a lot more to say about this. I'm working on another post.

Rachael said...

ach. Forget it. It's not worth it. I take back my promise of another post.