In pharmacy school, I remember realizing in my Human Physiology class how incredibly busy our bodies are- ALL OF THE TIME. When we covered all the details of our organs, specifically the kidneys, I remember thinking how it all never stops. Ever. After my supper of Chex cereal and milk and studying in my room, I would lie down in my twin bed and think of all that was going on and have trouble falling asleep. Big business was taking place-- life giving exchanges. Every second, our organs are doing impressive and major transactions- converting, utilizing, filtering, distributing, dispersing, transforming-- constantly. While I slumber, my organs are hard at work. As I have gotten older, I look in the mirror and see lots of other things that happen while I sleep. I’ll save that lament for another time. And now that I have kids, the things that take place while they sleep have an entirely different significance.
My screensaver, like many others, scrolls through my picture files and many nights while I read, I find myself distracted by the digital reminders of days and events gone by. I see readers by the fire, creek swimmers with lily white bodies, a proud hostess of plastic food buffets, chubby legs now long and slender, silly bedroom skits, lazy lake days, first bike rides beaming smiles under helmets, infants on my forearm, morning hair, tight fists around passies, a million paper and glue and tape creations, a million more beach pictures, babies asleep on chests, princess play dates, footed pajamas, white knuckled grips on trains and cars, toothless grins, cake smeared on baby faces, large stages dwarfing my ballerina, batting helmet seeming bigger than him....
(Julia with a friend)
I see pictures of them and think, when did that little look go away? When did your face lose that fullness? While you were sleeping. And I missed it. When did your legs get so long that you couldn’t fit into the buggies that made grocery shopping more palatable? When did that foot, I one day dared to kiss, turn into a size four? When did the entire landscape of your mouth change? While you were sleeping. When did you grow so long that I no longer find you fast asleep on your windowseat? When did you lose that lyrical way of talking that confirmed, “I’m still little.”? When did your desire to read board books go away? When did those new freckles decorate the bridge of your nose? When did your button nose under those new freckles grow slender?
While you were sleeping and I missed it.
The first time she read
You are ever changing and sometimes I don’t notice it until I take a picture of you and when I look at how it turned out, I look twice. I notice how you’ve changed when through my lens, time stands still. Maybe that’s why I like to snap your photo so often. Time stands still. And often, I am taken aback at how much I missed. I believe most of it happens while you sleep.