As Time Goes By
Milestones mark life for us. Whether joyous or sad, these markers imprint our lives in a permanent way. They cause us to take inventory on life, measuring, in a sense, and reflecting on both that moment as well as what has happened since it took place.
When recalling a happy one, I tend to get a feeling of pleasure that is almost indescribable. It’s a series of visceral sensations that take place like toppling dominoes. First, I get the feeling, as cliché as it may sound, like my heart has skipped a beat, or has fluttered which is then followed by a sigh and then by a sense of exhilaration.
Take for example, the moment that Elly was born. I recall the dimmed lights in the room, watching Greg help deliver her with the midwife, and the burst of emotion that everyone in the room shared as she came into the world. Then moments later, as I held that seven pound crying bundle in my arms, her tiny hand gripping my finger, I thought "Oh my goodness. I’m a daddy. And it feels even more incredible than I expected it would." Whenever I think back to that time, I flash back to those emotions. That wave of excitement and pride and pure joy washes over me as if I was right back in that time.
I also clearly remember the day I first met Betty. Taking her from the "breeder" in Lynn- this morbidly obese woman pushing a metal lawn chair to its limits on her front sidewalk. (I think she misunderstood the term breeder to include anyone whose dog got pregnant. But I let it slide because she still gave me the best pup ever.) As she puffed away on her Marlboro Light 100, Betty desperately tried to knock over the Big Gulp under her chair. I’m not sure what I loved about Betty first - her feistiness, her love for frolicking, or her white-speckled muzzle and adorable caramel-colored bum. But whatever it was, I knew she was the pup for me. I can recall her trembling as I took her from her litter. Her whimpering on my lap on the ride home saddened me but soon after she settled into my arms and let me snuggle her. I looked at her and said "You are going to enrich my life. And I promise to give you a good life." And she has definitely made my life better. I can only hope that the feeling is mutual. And I suspect it is. Nearly thirteen years later, through all the grey fur, I can still see that seven pound puppy when I look in her almond-shaped eyes.
And of course, I’d be remiss to not mention my wedding day as one of the best days of my life. Standing on the altar, holding Greg’s hands just teeming with happiness. There we were, surrounded by our friends and family, sharing vows with each other that would bind us together. I thought I would just burst with excitement. Not only was I marrying the man that I love, but I also got to hear the same words straight couples have heard for years, "By the power invested in me, through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you married." I still get a chill thinking back to what those words mean and how important they are to validating our family. And by validation, I don’t mean what it means to us privately, but how it makes us a family to the broader community. And whenever I glance down at that band on my finger, I remember that day as if it were yesterday. And I can totally remember the glow on my handsome groom’s face.
But just as there are the joyful milestones, there must also be the sad ones; the ones that make the heart feel heavy. Those that make us sigh and feel a little short of breath, but not in the way their positive counterparts do. And though they don’t bring the pleasure of the happy type, they are still important nonetheless. They become a part of our being, shaping who we are in some way.