Here’s what I know about time:
It’s going to keep moving forward, whether or not we move forward with it.
Once upon a time, my daughter was small; now she is big – almost as tall as I am and able to say “thank you” on her own, without my prompting, when someone pays her a compliment. Also, she can cook breakfast. She seems even bigger to me today than when she left just a few weeks ago for camp, that heavenly, rustic, vacuum of a place where she spends her days canoeing and weaving lanyards and trying to master the climbing wall, the one that is a cinch from right to left but a booger going from left to right. Last year when she left for camp her goal was to improve her dive. This year she wanted simply to do her best at everything she tried, even if she was not the best in any category. Last year she was thinking vertically, but now she sees things across a wider stretch. Time did that for her; it’s how time works.
As we avoided the laundry bag full of mildewing clothes and snuggled on the sofa to watch a stupid Disney movie together, she asked what all happened while she was gone. Well, I said, I took time off work so I could have a week to myself; and I cleaned the kitchen, and sewed a few dresses, and worked on my blogs, and edited the dinner, dammit book (my children think this title is hilarious), and walked the dogs, and spent time with Dad. These are the things I said to her.
Here’s what swirled in my head: what happened during the past few weeks is still hard to describe in words, starting with an unspeakable tragedy and ending with the President’s morphing back into the man I voted for in 2008, with a staggering demonstration of forgiveness in between. Also, SCOTUS. And the U.S. women’s soccer team. It was a hell of a few weeks, that’s what I was thinking.
And now we’re on this side of it, all of it, from the camp climbing wall to the rainbow-lit White House. What happened in the last few weeks is now part of the 525,600 minutes that belong to the past, to last year on our ever-rolling calendar. That was then; this is now.
Now there are people I love who, after years of waiting, are married. Now there are people I love who changed their Facebook profile pictures to the Confederate flag. Now, right now, there are people I love who still have health insurance and other people I love who are certain – to the fiber of their being – that the Affordable Care Act will be the fall of the United States. I love all of these people because they are kind and funny and smart, if sometimes willfully ignorant. That last part could easily said about me, too.
You do not have to love these people with me. You know, by now, my second favorite saying: you do you; I’ll do me. Although, honestly, I’m wondering if that should be my top favorite, followed by “you choose how you feel.” Maybe the two walk hand in hand, like Cindy and Cindy and Mark and Mark are now free to do. Anyway, time will keep moving you and me forward, whether we love the same people or not. Fates willing, you and I both have not 525,600 but fully 527,040 minutes between today and June 28, 2016, because 2016 is a leap year. In every single one of these minutes, we each get to choose how we feel about the past and how we act going into the future. You can choose to be mad; although there are no guarantees, I’ll likely still love you anyway. That’s what I get to choose. #lovewins