I made a shadow box today. Filled it with priceless construction paper art made by my granddaughters. With their little two- and four-year-old handprints now immortalized on a black velvet background, I added photos of them taken just this spring. And then I hung it on the wall to enjoy for years to come. A piece of time captured behind glass where nothing can disturb or change the view.
If only life were like that. I wish I could hang on to the moments I share with the people I cherish. I’d live every delightful moment over and over again until I wore out the CD of those memories in my heart. I’d hold my loved ones in my arms, never letting life take them away from me. I’d cherish the fragrance of their skin wafting up from every embrace, like a bouquet of roses. I’d never ache for the sound of their voice.
But you can’t capture life in still frames. Babies are born and, before you know it, they’re bringing home report cards and boyfriends and diplomas and wedding invitations and birth announcements and . . .
The circle of life begins again.
When I was a young mother, I thought there would never come a day when I didn’t carry a baby on my hip. But it came and went unnoticed. Twenty years of childrearing seemed as eternal as the view from an infinity pool. But those are both illusions. It’s already been ten years since my youngest graduated high school. Next week my oldest will celebrate the fifth anniversary of his wedding which just happened yesterday.
My husband told me once that “our song” is one Jim Croce made famous, “Time In A Bottle”:
If I could save time in a bottle . . .
If words could make wishes come true,
I’d save every day like a treasure, and then
Again, I would spend them with you.
If only I could. Then I wouldn’t fill shoe boxes with photos, or DVDs with videos, or keep re-saving the voice mails of my loved ones. I’d never ever have to say good-bye.
Boxing with shadows, unable to hold on to moments or hugs or people. For now, the best I can do is capture the shadows of memories behind glass until the day comes when I’ll never have to say good-bye again.