presents in the present

“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”
Beryl Markham, West With the Night

As horrible and embarrassing as it is to admit I am sometimes the sort of person who looks back and thinks how wonderful life was in the past. Okay, so sometimes doesn’t exactly hit the mark. Let’s try often. Especially if it has been a particularly trying day… okay, so maybe even if it hasn’t.

So thought about living in the present lately and how bad I am at that. How I romanticize life in the past too much and dream of an idyllic future, when I ought to live in the moment, in the present. And birthdays are the worst. The day I turned twenty-seven I woke up in a train going from Paris to Rome, Italy with my husband as my traveling companion. What a birthday! As far as locations go Rome is difficult to beat. And so I dreamily would say on birthdays thereafter “This is alright, but oh, I’ll never forget that birthday in Rome!”

And I suppose I shouldn’t–it was a beautiful trip. But it was just a day, a moment in my timeline that was a bit more memorable than some others that have since followed. Though as I sat yesterday in a quiet moment I thought about the birthday just around the corner and I decided that this was going to be the best birthday. That from here on out I wanted to try to be better at living in the present instead of in the bookends of past and future.

I feel more than ever this is important not only for me but as an example to those three little hearts that call me mom. Particularly for my eldest who is me in smaller, boy form. When I hear him lament some gross injustice found here (like Saturday school), I hear myself. He is learning how to live on this planet by watching my responses, my choices and attitudes. Oh dear.

Anyway, the present. It’s where the action is and it’s the only thing I can control (to some degree, of course). And the present has been fairly sweet today, I must say. Breakfast from the boys served in bed (the girl is too much like me and likes to sleep in). Sweet friends who drove a long way across town to bring me flowers and other things they knew I’d love. A day of homemade cards. A clean house. Friends coming for dinner. New books. Good things.

So while there is no Colosseum or Forum or creamy gelato, there are friends and flowers, phone calls and video chats, doughnuts, homemade peanut butter cups with candles on top–right here, right now.