Cliches are easy to remember but snobbishly frowned upon. The overuse of cliches could be the mark of incompetence. However, there are days when cliches and the embellishment of them are still the perfect way to express how a person feels. And often, all I can remember.
Caught between a rock and a hard place.
Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
Combine those all together and you have me, this morning. Maybe things weren’t all that bad, but I have a uniquely un-unique ability to let some moments in time feel as though that is all the time there is and the intensity becomes overwhelming.
This ability is a blessing when looking into the waking brown eyes of my daughter and knowing absolutely that she has somehow always been a part of me. Or holding hands with my son as he grows feeling a connection that has been around a lot longer than his eight and a half years on earth.
It’s not so great when you have a deadline to meet – a self imposed one, I might add – while trying to accommodate at least four different opinions. A span of thirty minutes morphs into a light-year’s journey of a wayward asteroid careening dangerously close to a black hole. The white hot intensity of the barreling ball of fire burns the memory directly onto whatever cortex of the brain that will allow me to recall these thirty minutes twenty years from now without effort.
Like when I was ten and we were living in Zionsville, Indiana and some boy made fun of the hair on my legs. That was thirty years ago and I can still clearly see my blue knee socks that didn’t actually cover my knees, thinking they had masterfully hidden all of my shameful hair. I can feel the cold metal of the doorknob of our front door that I was holding onto with my tight gripped yet tiny, sweaty hand trying not cry out in agony and embarrassment. I can even almost pinpoint the scent of the spring air bordering on the hot side of warm with a hint of rain.
And, yet, when I try to create moments of bliss that burn into my soul in the same way, I am not nearly as successful. My first kiss is totally lost to me (as is the boy’s name). My wedding day is pretty much a blur except for continually asking if my soon-to-be husband had actually shown up. I remember more the struggle of nursing our kids, not the awe and wonder I’ve heard so much about. The day my marriage almost ended is more vivid than the day he proposed.
I have spent countless hours in my head trying to manufacture the perfect, joyous moment in time that will never leave me but the ones I have I are completely random. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to trade my haphazard collection of happy moments – the warmth of my baby daughter sleeping on my chest; my son’s tiny, miraculous feet; the exact moment in time when I realized I loved the man who is my husband; or the first cognizant mental rush at getting to perform in a play even though I’d been on stage before.
I just remember more sitting as a duck in the rock place damning myself while getting stronger.
And the hairy knees.