Thursday, August 14, 2014

At the half

The boy turned four-and-a-half yesterday. We're good for half-birthdays around here, and he smiled all day. It was water play day at preschool, and he told his teachers that what they were setting up was his water play birthday. He asked for ice cream at the end of the day, and there in the ice cream parlor he had us light a pretend candle and sing a real "happy birthday" song. He beamed and blew out his pretend candle and made a real wish.

It was only three of us singing, and he kept lighting pretend candles and making real wishes, so I can't point you to the wish. But one of his wishes was for E to come home. I really miss her, he kept saying. I want her to come back now.

We're down a kid, just briefly, off having a hard-earned adventure and proving to herself just how brave she is. But it's a thing that happens, maybe especially with the last kid, that every milestone ties in my memories to another one, no memory forms in isolation, and the week of his half-birthday is the week where we first send away a kid to sleepaway camp. He's grown into an articulate human, finally, I sometimes think. Finally we have the family I always saw in my mind, all the players here at the table, and just as we've formed, they're already walking away.

Time isn't equitable. I don't buy that it moves too fast but some moments move faster than others; it stretches and contracts, and the parts I want to hold jump out of reach and change, snapped elastic skittering away.

The half-birthday continued its celebration today, gliding on its own momentum. The girl will be home tomorrow. The summer's almost over. And time keeps contorting.

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