Remember When… 4



Sit down right now. Give me this moment. Write whatever’s running through you. You might start with “this moment” and end up writing about the gardenia you wore at your wedding seven years ago. That’s fine. Don’t try to control it. Stay present with whatever comes up, and keep your hand moving. — Natalie Goldberg

This moment, only half of my people are with me and I find myself checking the clock like an expectant father, waiting for the rest of them to arrive. This moment, I sit in the quiet calm of an early summer weekday at the lake. This moment, the goslings are learning to swim at the shore while their mothers hiss at us. The sun has sunk below the copse across the bay, but light still reflects on the undulating surface of the water.

My goslings are no longer goslings and I think it’s mama who’s having the growing pains. The eldest enters high school in the fall. High school. And in this moment, her phone is her best friend, connecting her to all the IRL friends who have moved to the world’s farthest reaches, or Arkansas, which feels the same to her young heart.

This moment, I could be painting my nails or finishing a rug project. I could be playing a board game with them, though I’d guess they’d just roll their eyes if I asked them to. In this moment I am content in this small space of quiet. When we visit the lake, the real world ebbs away. While I am ever confident that bills and laundry and dishes and the other mess of life await me with bated breath, I can forget in this moment that those things exist.

I am becoming that woman who reminisces. Every where and all the time. Remember when…we went to the lake with Grandma? Remember when she planted that forsythia? Remember how she used to garden in the morning before it got stupid hot, then she’d fish off the dock, quiet and content until dinner? Remember that she reupholstered the chair in which I sit? That she painted the cupboards, made the shower curtain, put up the wallpaper?

Remember that she was in her favorite place when she passed? That we were all so far away and confused and broken? Remember how she had smiled just days before, watching her young granddaughters splash in her backyard pool?

I remember moments with her like moving snapshots. I can hear her laugh, or bust my husband’s chops like no one else. I can hear her call her grandchildren “critters” and see her snuggle her cats. I can see her sitting on the dock, fishing pole in one hand, wearing a denim shirt. These moments are swift, caught in the current of life and thought. Cresting on the shore and lapping, one on the other, not lost exactly. But you have to sit still, pay attention, to see the ones you want to remember the most.


My friend Andi used the writing prompt above to write this piece about this moment. Not this moment but her this moment. She doesn’t know about my moment. Anyway, credit Andi for her thoughtful words on what we have and what we have not. As the inimitable Michael Stipe sang, “What we want and what we need have been confused.”