“Easy Like a Sunday (Monday, No Wait, Tuesday) Morning” My Apologies to Lionel Richie

Keara and Finn dressed for school.

Keara and Finn dressed for school.

This morning, I watched my sixteen-year-old get in a friend’s car and drive to school, in her Catholic school uniform with her hair a freshly-died, espresso black and her lips painted purple. A few minutes later, I dropped the Lad off for his first day of high school, watching him walk on to campus, looking just like my brothers did at his age, all skinny legs and freckles and big ears. I came home to pack lunch for my baby starting her first day of middle school, where she will sit shoulder to shoulder with boys who can grow mustaches and girls who shave their legs. And then I came home and sat in awe at the passage of time.

I won’t say that time travels fast. That’s too simplistic and it doesn’t always ring true. Sometimes, time travels slowly. There were years and years when it didn’t feel like anything ever changed. There was the almost six year season of pregnancy and breastfeeding, one baby after another.  And I’ll never forget the era of bodily functions – almost ten solid years of changing diapers and wiping bottoms. It’s been over fifteen years of the same dinner and bedtime prayers and the kiss and hug goodnight before turning out the light. Keara ushers in a new era and Molly brings it to its conclusion.

But the epoch of having a young family is coming to its natural end. I generally talk a good game about looking forward to what’s coming up ahead, but today I was faced with reality. Despite my sadness at the passage of time, I believe I will love my adult children with the same passion I loved them as babies. I am endlessly fascinated by who they are becoming and what makes them tick. I watch the little decisions they make and the comments they let fly and I smile, praying that I have done enough to earn a place in their life when they become adults and have the ability to chose who they want to spend time with. I have several more years to work on that, of course; I know its not over, but still, there is something significant about this year. Instead of a family made up of two adults and three kids, we are now a family of five: two adults, two young adults and one pre-teen, who is somewhere in the middle. There are no chubby cheeks left to kiss goodbye and no hands begging to be held. There are hand waves, high fives and quick hugs and I am grateful for every one of them.

IMG_0089I was doing fine today, leaving Molly at De Portola Middle School, a little nostalgic perhaps, but nothing that was going to slow me down, that is, until I got in the car and turned on the radio. Coming out at me from across the airwaves was Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like a Sunday Morning” and I had to pull over, because I started to cry.

It isn’t the lyrics; it isn’t the tune; it isn’t even Richie’s velvet voice that brings me to tears.

It’s just that that song holds the essence of longing to me, the finality of goodbye.

Twenty-two years ago this month, I said good-bye and left my first-born daughter at Mercy Hospital in the arms of a social worker, who would place her in the arms of her parents the next day. The nurse took me out in a wheel chair and I got in my mother’s car. I purposely turned on the radio, knowing that the song playing would forever be linked to that moment for me and I heard Lionel Richie sing,

“I know it sounds funny but I just can’t stand the pain.

Girl, I’m leaving you tomorrow.

Seems to me girl you know I’ve done all I can.

You see I’ve begged, stole and I borrowed,

That’s why I’m easy, easy like a Sunday morning.”

The song went on that day and it went on today as well and I let it wash over me. I let my heart feel what it wanted to feel, before I let my head get involved and clean up the mess.

Maybe the timing of the two songs, decades apart, was a coincidence, but maybe it was an invitation from the universe, then and now, to say goodbye. I never experienced with Sarah the first era, the one I am saying farewell to now with the three children I am privileged to raise. Time never went slowly with her; our day together was gone in the blink of an eye, but I cherished every moment of it, so maybe today I was given a reminder to be grateful for the long slow crawl through poopy diapers and messy art projects, as well as the one I am embarking on now of intellectual and moral questioning and challenges.

Coincidence, or fate, I am thankful that song came on, bringing me back to myself, to my life and my choices, my past and future. It reminded to not cling to what was, nor insist on what has not yet unfolded. It centered me in the Now, the day before me with my family, friends and work.

I hope yours is as good one as mine is surely turning out to be.

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14 thoughts on ““Easy Like a Sunday (Monday, No Wait, Tuesday) Morning” My Apologies to Lionel Richie

  1. It was a privilege to read this. God bless you. I am sending this on to my cousin, who was adopted as a little baby. I know it will make her cry, but also fill her with love.

  2. I cried partly because I just ended the baby/toddler/preschool stage with the last entering Kindergarten which is emotional enough, but more so because I just dove head first into the thick of this stage with three in elementary school filled with crafts, and first reports, lots of volunteering and tons of needs for hugs and holding hands and usually all at the same time. All seasons have their intensity and it’s sad to say goodbye to the last one and all the same I bear the weight of appreciating the season I now find myself in. I loved your thoughts, because I will all the more quickly appreciate the hassles and the stresses of this stage as I sense I will all too soon be mourning it’s loss. Loved your heart sweet person!

    • Thank you for responding Jody. You are in what Tim and I like to call “the sweet spot.” You’ve got several years there and I know you will enjoy them all the way through. This next phase is a good one too, just needing to say goodbye to the last.

  3. I always look forward to your blogs because they touch a piece of me each time with a different pain, happiness and love. this time was no different! Thank you for your open, honest writing and sharing with us what we all feel in different parts of our lives! xoxo

  4. I’ll never listen to that song the same way ever again…as always my heart strings have been pulled and a lump wells in my throat…Thank you Ali

  5. As usual, you made me cry. Thanks for the reminder about “letting your heart feel what it needs to feel, before letting your head get in the way, and cleaning up the mess”

  6. Well, sweet Ali, I am sitting at the DMV right now and I am not at all bummed out about it because it gave me some time to read your awesome post.:) Let me tell you there are many people looking at me and wondering why this “crazy person” is sitting here looking at her phone and tears are coming down her face. I am trying hard to hold it in but just can’t.:) Oh well, I don’t think I will see anyone from here ever again:)
    Thank you for capturing and expressing your emotions so well. It gave me some time to reflect even for just a moment on the season that I am in, the one that ended and new seasons that will be coming. I know that every mom’s heart was touched by this

  7. Ali, I love the pictures! Once again your reflections brought both smiles and tears. With three adult children, I can promise you your three will always choose to spend time with you. We love you and your precious family! Bev and Phil

  8. Ali,
    I am in awe of God’s timing. Special story that touched my day.
    The next years are equally as great….just profoundly different.

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