I left the house at 5:00 yesterday evening – by myself! – and went for a quick walk. As soon as I turned the corner, I caught my breath: the sunset was beautiful. I chased it, trying to find ground high enough to be able to see it unobstructed. The closest I got was a three-foot-high curb in a church parking lot two blocks from my house.
But even the rooftops and power poles and electric lines poking up into the sky couldn’t block the beauty. The whole southwestern sky was the color of ripe raspberries, a whole bowl of them, spilled out and illuminated, as if they were lit from behind, or within.
I stood in the church parking lot and watched that vibrant pink drain from the sky. It faded really fast.
Not an hour before, my mom and I had been looking at baby pictures of Jane. Mama shook her head and said, “I just don’t remember Jane as a a baby.”
“I don’t either,” I said. “I didn’t realize how much Luke looks like her.” How could I look at Luke and not see the resemblance? How could I forget something so unforgettable as my only daughter’s baby face?
My memory fades so fast, and the days fade even faster, and I know that tired as I am, I will likely have almost no memories of this first year of the boys’ life, and that makes me sad. It makes me want to hold on.
It makes me want to pay attention.
I rush far too often and forget to pay attention to this moment right here right now. But you simply can’t rush a nursing baby – or a sleeping one. Being on the twins’ schedule has meant slowing down. And slowing has given me more space, more time to pay attention.
Attention is something we generally lack around here. We’re all worried and distracted by many things. But really, only one thing is needful.
The way my mother sits, legs crossed, in the rocking chair, working a crossword puzzle.
The way my daughter’s hair curls softly around her face as she sits beside me on the sofa, looking at a book. The dimple in her chin. The arch of her perfect eyebrows. Even the bug bites on her legs that she’s picked till they’ve bled and scabbed over.
The way Ben plays with my fingers while he nurses. The cool softness of his cheeks. The soft down of his hair.
The way Luke shrieks with delight when he shakes the rattle he’s managed to pick up. His chubby cheeks and chin. His Buddha belly.
The way Jack’s hair falls across his forehead and over his ears. The small scar beside his nose. His joyful singing as he sits at the table, drawing.
This moment. It’s all we have. And if we don’t notice it, we won’t remember it.
Because it fades really fast.