I wrote this piece at the end of summer two years ago! It’s both fitting and funny that somehow almost all of it still holds true today (with just one tweak: my older child goes to elementary school now):
My days are mainly composed of routine tasks: I’m up early every morning—whether I’m ready or not, whether I’d rather stay in bed or not. My kids greet each day with joy and eagerness in overabundance. I don’t remember when I lost this feeling and replaced it with reluctance and trepidation instead, but the kids’ enthusiasm is infectious. The energy crackles out of them, little sparklers, sparks popping, hopping over to me, I always wake up with a smile.
Since I’ve gotten used to being woken up at early hours, I’ve acquired the amazing ability to wake up alert at any time (as well as fall sleep at any time). I’ve become so used to constantly being interrupted that I am more surprised when I am not. Breakfast is usually toast, then we wash up, change, and set out for nursery school. The walk is usually pleasant. After I bring them to school, I run errands and work on my book. Then I pick them up in the late afternoon, we play for a bit and basically do the same thing we did in the morning only in reverse. They greet bedtime with reluctance and trepidation instead of the overabundance of joy and eagerness that I have developed for it.
Then we do it all again the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next.
But of course, there are some special things to break the tedium and I try to stay in the present. We visit a new part of the city every weekend, there are always friends to visit, restaurants to go to, parks to explore, new things to learn, new tasks to accomplish, shows to watch, visitors to entertain. But even those things begin to fall into a familiar pattern like a decorative motif on a plate. The faster the plate spins, the more it begins to blur into a grey.
The days tend to blur as the time passes, the seasons fall as expected in the usual months, the clothes changing as reliably as the leaves. All the summers tend to flow into a fast-moving blur of familiar things: fresh strawberries, flowers, heat, sweat, sand, seawater, watermelon, sticky popsicles, sunscreen, sunlight, fruit flies, green leaves. Some memories fade into the background, years turn to liquid, decades into rivers, flowing out with a strong current. In the grand ebb and flow, the strong patterns of routines make just a passing impression, they become carriers of moments revisited. Golden leaves on the surface, cherished, painful, poignant.