Saturday, August 25, 2012

Eight years ago today

Earlier today I read this post about how time seems to move more slowly when you are taking in lots of new information. That's why childhood days seem so long, and the years fly by the more routine and less engaging your life becomes.

I'll say one thing for routine, though. If you do the same kinds of things at the same time every year, and a momentous occasion happens to coincide with one of them, you get an annual reminder of that occasion whenever that part of your annual schedule comes up. As long as the momentous occasion is a good thing, it's a wonderful chance to remember.

The routine in which I was engaged eight years ago today is something we call PPP -- Professors, Pizza and Pie. The dozen or so freshmen in my Honors seminar meet in the evening with me and the program's dean for some food and conversation. Over the course of a couple of weeks early in the semester, all the freshman seminars will do this, with the dean and their instructors.

Eight years and ten hours ago, I had just come home from my group's PPP. I immediately put on my pajamas and was helping Archer get ready for bed. And my water broke. Copiously. We called a friend to come stay with Archer, I changed into something that wasn't soaked with amniotic fluid (I'm pretty sure it was a muumuu-like swimsuit coverup), and Noel drove me to the hospital. And just a couple of hours later, Cady Gray was born.

I can't think of a single day since that hasn't been more magical because of her presence. I sound like a typical parent when I say it, but I don't know of any way to get across her all-around wonderfulness. She is brilliant, creative, hilarious, sweeter than honey, and beautiful beyond anything that we could have possible contributed to producing. There's a light in her eyes that illuminates the world.

Yesterday, the day before her birthday, I was jokingly bemoaning the fact that seven-year-old Cady Gray was going to go away forever, and I would always miss her. Cady Gray wrapped her arms around me as she does dozens of times a day. "Seven-year-old Cady Gray will still be here," she said. "It's just that there will be a little bit more."

And I was strangely comforted. Yes, the child I love will always be there, receding perhaps under layers of additional years and experience, but never gone. I'll stay connected to her as long as I'm still having pizza and pie with new students, telling them the story of how the dean almost had to assist in her birth, laughing, remembering, and silently giving thanks.

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