Nathan took Phoebe back to the hospital today to be admitted. Another fever this morning signaled it was time to go.
Today found me at Six Flags of all places, with my boys and Jocelyn and a thousand flashbacks of my growing up years. As a kid I divided my time between Wet-N-Wild and Six Flags in the summer time. A Season Pass was $40 and Mom would drop me off with a friend for the day. That’s why I know every turn on the Mine Train and the scary part that makes everyone scream right before they drop into the tunnel. I know the dank smell of the “Cave” that use to house “speelunkers” but now hosts a “Yosemite Sam” theme, and the Conquistador and the Shockwave and so on. I was surprised so much of the park remains unchanged.
And everything in my life has changed.
My ten year old feet climbed those stairs and walked those pathways and waited in long lines in the sweltering Texas heat. And I keep having these kind of full-circle moments lately. I’m aware that I’m acutely tuned in to the cycle of life now in a way I have never experienced before. It’s almost like I’ve developed a sixth sense.
When we moved to Dallas one of the first things on my to-do list was to get a library card for the boys. The Preston-Royal library near our house looks almost out of place flanked by sprawling houses and carefully manicured lawns. The building is a leftover from the 50’s with big white arches in front and spackled concrete decor on the exterior walls. I remember thinking how it didn’t blend in to the landscape the first time we went and I was glad for it. I prefer an older building with character to a newer one any day.
The other day Mom asked which library we went to. When I told her Preston-Royal, she sighed and told me that she spent many an hour in highschool there writing research papers and book reports. I was fascinated…to think that her grandchildren now curl up with books in the corners of that building which appears largely unchanged since the time she frequented it. They inhabit the same space 40 years later. The next time we went, I could almost see her there at a table, her head bent down over a paper. She looked like she does in that graduation picture in her cap and gown by my grandparents swimming pool. She would have been just 2 years shy of marrying my father, four years from my beginning.
Life is weird like that….beginnings and middles and endings.
Before we left the park today we rode the carousel. It’s a big, beautiful ride, the first thing you see when you enter the front gate. I have ridden it several times across the years, less so as a teen I’m sure, when it just wasn’t cool anymore. But today, I hoisted Deacon up on to a horse on a pole and climbed on the pony next to him. The music started and the circular motion took us around. I delighted in his delight. As I studied the ornate woodwork and painting the carousel showcased, I could see myself, at 8, at 10, 13, riding there, moving through space toward the woman that I am now. That girl knew nothing of this woman, of responsibility, of life’s beginnings and endings…and of these sons. And the carousel became a metaphor for the cycle of life that I understand now for the first time. Once, I entered this carousel a child, today I stepped off, a woman.
All this being aware of death magnifies life. It puts it under a microscope for observation and teaches you to savor, to realize the fluidity of each moment. We move so quickly, almost imperceptibly in and out of seasons and they must be recorded in our hearts…