There’s something about being in New Hampshire that allows me to see the future. At home, caught up in the day to day of life with the girls—days that are blends of mind-numbing tedium; blood-pressure-raising frustration; and incredible happiness and wonder—it’s almost impossible for me to see past the point where we are right now. “It goes fast,” people say. “Soon it’ll be Lucia going to softball camp/driving off to a ballgame/heading into the city to shop with friends.” Really? My dancing, singing, hair-accessory-loving three-and-three-quarter-year-old will one day not need me to arrange macaroni on her fork? My “NO”-screaming, arm-crossing, new-word-attempting one-and-three-quarter-year-old will one day know how to walk down the steps by herself? This time of small children seems, most days, like a permanent state.
But here: here I see it differently. Today it rained off and on, but there was no thunder or lightening, and the girls played for a solid hour in near-silence this morning down at the pond, on the rickety floating dock. Lucia fished algae out of the pond and collected it in her hand. Greta pulled up water-plant leaves and stuck them to her legs. They were completely immersed in the new things they were feeling and seeing. And I could see them a few years down the road, playing together at the pond, and I could imagine all the fun things they’ll discover there, and the activities they’ll dream up all on their own. I could see them—truly see them. And I could see me, and Andrew, sipping drinks in chairs up at the house or chatting together on the dock instead of lunging after Greta, who was bound and determined to just step off the floating dock, into the water; or lunging after Lucia as she leaned way, way, way over the edge of the floating dock to reach just one more piece of algae, oblivious to the way the dock was listing and sinking.
Lucia loved pulling on the rope to guide the floating dock closer to the other dock, and I could see her loving a canoe ride, or a kayak, or even some kind of boat ride down the river. Greta kept making snuggle motions at the mention of frogs, but she was too little, really, to spot them for herself; she’ll love it when she can pick out frogs and other animals on her own instead of simply calling “Frooogggg… Frooogggg…” and hoping they’d magically appear.
It will be so different.