february 12, 2003
I didn’t realize that our country was in such a scary time. I’m scared. I’m scared of losing someone, or something, or of things happening beyond anyone’s control. I’m afraid that my dreams and ambitions won’t come true because we are living in the end times. I suppose I am being superficial.
february 12, 2022
There are two pictures on my camera roll from February 12, 2020. They are both poor quality shots of the three biggest kids in our house—their bellies on the carpet of our old rental house—while they draw in tiny notebooks with crayons and pens. In the first picture, Jude stands above them. Norah laughs.
In the following days, there are pictures of Sawyer in a Batman mask and all the kids in the Valentine’s Day shirts my mom sent from South Carolina. Lily’s front teeth are missing just like Norah’s are now. The closer the pictures get to March, the more palpably I feel them. A river walk with the cousins. Jude, asleep on my lap. Sawyer, looking down on me from a ledge. The girls, in pink leotards and tap shoes at their last dance class.
While I scroll through the pictures, a sadness rises up in me. I can feel it in my throat. By the time I get to mid-March, it’s too much, so I close my phone and put it down. Maybe sadness isn’t the right word. Maybe it’s more that I can’t bear to see all those simple smiles, knowing all that is to come. Is there a word for that?
On this same day in 2000, I had just had glamour shots taken at Valley West Mall and my show choir had performed at a competition only to receive less than average scores. To make matters worse? “I messed up too!” Each day brings both big and small matters, but, in the moment, those matters rarely seem small. There is always something to surmount—something to move past.
Today it was a three-year-old’s bedtime and his general, volatile demeanor. Who’s to say what tomorrow will bring?
Trouble is promised. Two questions remain: Where will I turn when it comes? Will I let it teach me—shape me for all that has not yet come to pass?