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Lights

I’ve been stopped a lot in the past couple of years. Stopped, as in, pulled over for a reason other than an expired inspection ticket. And a lot, meaning, three times.

I’m thirty-four, and this is the most I have ever seen flashing lights in my life.

My GPS and I have a disagreement, I wind up the wrong way, running late, on a road that appears to have no speed limit signs (not that I have bothered to look) as I’m mutter nonsense and listening to the GPS lady and her incessant and cheerful: Recalculating! 

Slow. Down.

My two year old has pooped in her car seat, my four year old is whining that he dropped his last broken crayon beyond the reach of his finger tips, my stomach is growling and the disc in the DVD player is so badly scratched that it keeps replaying the same scene from The Lion King 1 1/2 over and over and over while my oldest two bicker over who is causing it to skip.

Slow. Down.

My body is here, behind the steering wheel, buzzing along at a smooth forty-five (in a thirty) while my heart and mind flutter elsewhere, anxious, introspective, distracted.

Slow. Down.

No tickets. Nothing more than a ten minute delay in my day to sit and do nothing while a nice police officer runs my license and then returns it to me with his head cocked to the side and an expression that says, You know better, M’am. 

But, I’m wondering now, if they ought to just start slapping me with tickets, because apparently, between myself, my GPS and my not-yet-entirely-potty-trained children, I simply do not know better.

(Also, I would prefer their expressions to be a little less fast and loose with the M’am. No grays here yet, Officer.)

*

This season is draining.

Spring to Autumn, I run away from my family and toward hundreds of others. Families, weddings, newborns, happy, wonderful moments. My cheeks ache from smiling after most sessions. I cry at least once per wedding.

Sometimes, it’s the vows. In the small moments, the hands held, heads down moments, I’ll see myself and my husband. Remember again, the moment we became just that, a we. An us.

Sometimes, it’s the father-daughter or the mother-son dance, and I’ll steady the camera in front of my watering eyes. I imagine how Vinnie will make the girls and I laugh on their wedding days. And how I’ll sob on Alex’s and Asher’s shoulders when it’s their turns.

And sometimes, it’s the unexpected moment. The inscribing from a groom to his love on the bottom of the bride’s shoe. The tenderness of a glance. The cracking of a father’s voice during a surprise toast to his daughter.

Then I come home, usually to a quiet house, with children who have long been asleep and I sit and think, well, here I am…now.

This is the season of passing ships.

*

I’m thirty-four, and this is the most I have ever seen flashing lights in my life.

Slow. Down.

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