Nostalgia set in a few weeks ago when the above photo slipped out of a book I had decided to reread. It was taken on a crisp fall day nine years ago, back when life was about hours around the Lego table and playdates at the park. Now with a month of milestones on the horizon (including Hannah’s 11th birthday and Will’s 8th grade graduation), I am in full-on retrospective mode. They could not be more different – she my dancing, singing, adventure-seeking free spirit; he my thoughtful, humble, quietly charismatic computer genius. In common are their warm, constant smiles and compassionate natures, and though they have their fair share of quarrels (as all siblings do), the love they share almost always shines through.
I asked during a recent dinner if they could each name a favorite childhood memory. Will recalled a fall day in second grade when we had forgotten about daylight savings and stood waiting for the bus for ages until it dawned on us. He remembered walking to the backyard and playing on our swing set with nothing to do but pass the time and how happy he felt in that moment. Hannah spoke of a summer afternoon spent on Lake Five where we sat on the pier and let tiny minnows nibble our toes (to this day she calls minnows “nibble fish”). It made my heart ache that both recollections were of simple, spontaneous family experiences unspoiled by the sense of urgency that swallows so much of our time these days. The lesson is not lost on me.