31 December 2013


sticky note

December 2013

MAYA: “Mom, wasn’t Albert Einstein like the first person to walk on the moon?”
COLE: “No, I think his name was Harry Johnson or something.”

Mmm hmm. I wrote down their conversation a few days ago on a sticky note, and I’ve been holding onto it ever since. 

I want to remember it, because late one evening very soon -- hours past his bedtime -- Cole (8) will call out from his bedroom loft in a voice quite large for our little house, “Mom, did you know Albert Einstein conceived the theory of relativity and Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon?!” 

Maya (9) -- also still awake -- will peer up and over the pages of the second book she’s read that day and retort, “Obviously, Cole. Who cares?” Like clockwork will follow her litany of nightly inquiries: “Mom, who’s taking us to school in the morning? What time will we be leaving? Can we leave early because… In my lunch the day after tomorrow, will you please pack… Did you remember…” 

“Maya, go start a company,” Paul (39), reclined on a too-short-red-couch and clad in his signature hoodie and plaid pajamas, will interrupt without looking up from the screen of his phone. And across the room, wrapped in a blanket with a spacer heater at my feet -- sinking into the recesses of my old, oversized chair -- I (35, no 36… wait, I’m 37?!) will sigh and look up from my own book. The fire in the wood stove will burn. Big Mama (our Christmas tree) will glow. Orange (our Island County Fair goldfish who died and came back to life -- long story) will splash about in his bowl. And with one accord, Paul and I will cry out: “GO TO BED!!”

Sooner or later, our kiddos will settle to sleep. And in the years that quickly follow, we will fondly recall the good ole days when Cole and Maya slept in lofts, Paul and I sank in saggy couches around a fireplace and our children still wondered anything aloud without Googling it first. The details of those days will likely blur into those of the next; eventually, they will fade.
I remember being perplexed by oldies radio when I was a kid. What is the point? I wondered. But 14 years into the 21st Century, clutching my landline, hardback books and the US Postal Service for dear life, I’m dragging my feet and resisting change. I continue to send out a letter on red paper each December in this age of instant connection, and I think I get it. 

It’s not so much the years to which I’m clinging, but these moments captured on sticky notes. As time turns, schedules swell, pants shrink and kiddos grow, I’m accepting(ish) but also grieving a crucial truth to this story we are living: what once was is no longer and what is won’t always be so... SO, I write and take note and reflect and give thanks. And I hope that one day, long after you’ve tossed this letter, I will happen upon it filed away in a box somewhere. I’ll dust it off, smile and gratefully, I’ll remember. 

Sending love to you and yours this December,
Abi, Paul, Maya and Cole.