Twenty years ago I wrote an essay on my son Alex’s birthday. He’s 28 today and in honor of his birthday I’m posting that essay. It’s a reminder to be present and breathe in the between.
January 23, 1999
I am sitting here with a latte. I made it first thing this morning, blurry eyed and clutching baby precariously in one arm, I steamed milk for the latte with the other. It sits rapidly cooling as I juggle kid and animal needs all morning.
Then, for a brief heartbeat, a single exhaled breath I find myself in quiet observation of the moment. Everyone is content and a second has slowed enough for me to experience it.
I breathe. Softly, as not to disrupt it.
I feel the need to record this piece of time before it spins away. Even now, in searching for something on which to write, the living snapshot that enthralled me has powered up and raced forward.
Do I continue to describe the moment that crept in between the ordered chaos? It is in the past even as I try to hold it in the present. Isn’t life itself made up of second after second of this stuff? There was nothing special about that moment, only the complete observation of it.
The cat may have been the cause. Stepping gingerly onto my lap, knowing full well that it is a place that moves suddenly from rest to motion, taking the risk. She purred. Heavy and mesmerizing, maybe that was the catalyst.
Or, could it have been the dog? Being dog-like, he sat himself weightily next to the baby. An important job, protective, watchful as the baby happily played with cardboard Lego box.
Should that moment be captured because my oldest son, eight years old today sat at my side building a Lego spaceship? Hundreds of pieces coming together by his hand into a recognizable form. Enthralled in the creation of it.
Almost grown up. Still a baby.
The music was playing. A woman’s voice. My favorite song. The one we like to belt out at the top of our beautiful off-key voices.
The moment paused.
I breathe. Softly
Happy Birthday Alexander.