Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Transition Begins.

Today my daughter becomes a rising senior, and tonight she is watching many of her friends graduate. As I wait in the car for her, I hear cheer after cheer from inside as the Class of 2010 crosses the church stage. The next time I hear those voices, mine will be among them.

I want to cry.

But I don't, because when I see her across the yard, she's already in tears herself. It's not easy navigating adolescence under the best of circumstances, much less with a mentally ill mother. Some of these seniors are close friends, both boys and girls. They have supported her and nurtured her and loved her when I was too sick to know how. They gave her the stability I couldn't provide. And now she is saying goodbye.

Later my daughter will collapse from excitement and exhaustion and an empty stomach. Her boyfriend will gently scoop her up and place her on the couch, and I'll take him home. No time to cry then, either.

For now, though, I watch the river of people pouring out of the church. The graduates first, dressed in purple, each with a single rose. Their families following, dressed in their finest. I want to write about it, but I'm drawn instead to experience this. I realize I must stay in this moment, here, now, for as long as I can. I see my daughter approach Asher, a close friend. As she breaks into sobs, Asher envelopes her in his purple robe and holds her tight. She is safe right now, right there in those strong, loving arms, but that doesn't make it any easier. My heart breaks for hers.

And then I think about quantum physics. String theory, I've heard, posits eleven dimensions instead of the three we can see. The fourth dimension, I know, is time. I drink in the colors and the crying and the balloons and the hugging all around me. Life is happening. It's exploding. I feel invisible, but pleasantly so. Perhaps "now" -- that infinitely small point where time and space intersect -- is another of the dimensions. "Now" is different, special, apart from all else. My daughter's friends can protect and comfort her in the now. In the now, I can work to regain my health and make better choices. We can love only in the now.

I grasp, just for a second, the profound power of something so indefinable and minute. Whatever it is, this "now" thing, I see only its shadow, if even that. I inhale its essence, and time stops.

My daughter opens the passenger door, cueing time to move forward once again. And as I start the car, I realize there is much to do.


  1. Beautiful piece on the passage of time, among other things. If he artistic capabilities are anything like yours, she's going to do very well for herself.

  2. High praise indeed, coming from one of my favorite writers. Thank you!