Wasted on the Way

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With my nephew, a mere six hours old.

My baby sister gave birth to a healthy, gorgeous boy last week. The moment she went into labor, I scrambled onto a plane. My children were every bit as excited as I, practically kicking me out the door and assuring me they would get along fine without me. And so I arrived just a few hours after he came into the world, watching with wonder the essence of life as my sister sat on her sofa and nursed him (yes, she came home five hours after delivering, and yes, she’s semi-superhuman). I was able to hold him, stroke his silky soft cheeks, marvel at his perfect cupid’s bow mouth and teeny tiny hands while he gripped my finger tightly. My heart tugged, pulled close by the invisible strings that will connect us forever as family. I looked at my sister and brother-in-law and remarked, can you even remember what you thought about before he was here? He quickly wanted to return to her, already knowing the warmth and scent of his mama. I watched my sister take him in her arms, immensely proud of her and simply in awe of life. Those hours were raw and delicate, a rare stretch of time that will be forever remembered. I feel both grateful and privileged to have been there.

Brand new babies have a way of forcing you to be present through their purity, their vulnerability, the immediacy of their needs. And the feeling washes over you, one of life’s great truths – so many of the thoughts we turn over, the ideas, desires, and worries that occupy our minds, mean nothing at all. THIS is the meaning of life. But those invisible strings, palpable when you are truly present with others, often become stretched and threadbare with distractions. Right now this feeling is compounded for me with thoughts of my son and daughter growing up far too quickly and needing me far less as each year passes (as evidenced by their going it alone while I traveled and handling it seamlessly). With Will, my oldest and now a junior in high school, I’m especially aware. Busy with school work, ACT prep, a job, a wide circle of friends and a girlfriend, he is an absolute whirlwind. How many moments did I miss as he was growing up? The small ones that were actually the big ones? Distracted by my phone? Laundry? Meaningless trifle? Those worries are in and of themselves futile, though they still trouble me. Well, maybe not so futile. Now more aware than ever of our limited time together, I’m try to take advantage of every moment. Just last night as we were having dinner together, I goaded him into finishing his veggies. Though I was met with an initial eye-roll, he smiled as I explained that he has only to suffer through my proddings for two more years, and that I feel compelled to stuff him with as many nutrients as possible before turning him out into the wide, wide world. The truth is, he’ll be so full of hugs, life lessons, and nutrients by the time college rolls around that he may actually sprint out the door.

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With Will this summer.

My husband and I feel lucky to truly enjoy our children’s company, liking them every bit as much as we love them. When he does leave for college, and eventually she, our home will seem unbearably empty.

Wasted on the Way – Crosby, Stills & Nash

Look around me, I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way it used to be
I am older now I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started long before I did

And there’s so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

Oh when you were young did you question all the answers
Did you envy all the dancers who had all the nerve?
Look round you now, you must go for what you wanted
Look at all my friends who did and got what they deserved

So much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

So much love to make up everywhere you turn
Love we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away
Let the water come and carry us away

4 thoughts on “Wasted on the Way

  1. Hello Wendy–first, congratulations on the addition to your family! I found tremendous meaning in your post and especially in your choice of songs. I’m a huge CSN(Y) fan and yet, I’m not sure I ever really paid attention to the lyrics of this song. The third stanza is so powerful–looking back, I think I was the one who envied the dancers who had the nerve. If ever there was a song that shouted “get out there and make something of today,” this is it. Thank you for another wonderful post!

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