I don’t get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns
The stumbles and falls brought me here
I wanted to play the kids Squeeze’s 45s and Under but I didn’t have it on my iPhone. This was after I had sung the same six or so lines of “Goodbye Girl” over and over again while I washed dishes. Maybe they didn’t really want to hear Squeeze sing it, but I wanted them to hear Squeeze sing it. Sometimes I pretend that I can’t hear them protesting while I scroll through the artists list.
Except they were spared because I didn’t have any Squeeze on the iPhone.
I didn’t really feel like listening to anything else, but I already had the music app open, so I put on Ben Fold’s Rockin’ the Suburbs. I sang loudly through the first two songs, as if that would help the twins like the album better. Because my voice warbling off-key louder than Ben Fold’s voice makes it that much more enjoyable. The twins ignored me.
“You know that one of our wedding songs is on this album,” I told them.
“Oh my G-d, do we have to listen to something in Hebrew?”
“No, it’s in English. Do you want me to skip to it? It’s a love song.”
The Wolvog rested his forehead on the table, as if mushy songs shove him downward like an upperclassman dangling his head over a toilet. “Please.”
“Okay, I’m going to take that to mean that I should skip to it.”
I skipped straight to the “Luckiest” at the end of the album. Actually, first I fought the iPhone to get the screen to turn from the horizontal view to the vertical view. Then I muttered to myself about how I didn’t know how to get back to the song choices. And then I pushed a bunch of buttons. And then the Wolvog came over to help me even though if I was actually successful, he was going to have to hear a mushy love song. Then I skipped straight to the “Luckiest.”
They both stared at me while I sang the first verse by myself, but then I coaxed the Wolvog to dance with me. He formally placed one hand around my waist and weaved his fingers through mine in our outstretched hands. We swayed around the kitchen while I rested my cheek on the top of his head.
“When I danced with your daddy at our wedding to this song, I had no idea that 12 years later, I would be dancing with my little boy in our kitchen.”
I know that is always true. We can always look back at a moment and realize what we didn’t know back then which is taking place now. But there was something about that song, about the concept of fate, of holding my son’s hand, of the scent of his head, that created a bridge between the then and now, bunching together all the tiny moments as if they were just flowers in a bouquet. They seemed so important in the moment; the fights and the phone calls and the awards and the deaths and the births and the blood draws and the movies and museum trips and jumping the waves on the beach. Moments — when you’re in them — seem so huge, so all encompassing, capable of changing your mood, of blotting out the sun. And then 12 years pass and those individual moments seem as tiny as beads gathered on a simple string: all the same size, all small and round and pretty to think about as you sway in the kitchen.
“Were there iPhones when you got married?” the Wolvog asked, breaking into my thoughts.
“Do you know they’re releasing iOS 7 soon and it’s going to have many amazing features.”
“Shhhh, you’re destroying my perfect moment of remembering my wedding and realizing that I’m dancing with my son to the same song I danced with my husband.”
“I want to dance too,” the ChickieNob told me as the song ended, and the Wolvog started it back up again (any excuse to touch my phone). The ChickieNob danced with me until Josh came home and cut in. He moved slowly, at first holding me formally and then sliding his arms around me until we were in a long hug so I could cry into his shirt.
I am the luckiest; I recognize that now even though there have been times when it hasn’t felt that way. I didn’t get things right the first time or the fifth time or really any of the times that we tried without assistance. But all those wrong turns and stumbles and falls brought me right back here, from the library where I married Josh to the kitchen where I made him dinner, and it brought me to those two children ignoring my music as well as their dancing parents. I would never wish for the wrong turns and stumbles and falls, but I am glad that this is where I ended up. I can’t imagine any of those other tries — those other boyfriends and those other pregnancies — being as sweet as this.
Every single year, we get a do-over. We get to do every single day again just with a different year tacked to the end of the date. Today is the last day of 5773 on the Jewish calendar. Tonight, Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish new year — begins, and it brings with it a lot of hope. That this year will be different, this year will be better, that whatever didn’t work in the past year won’t be repeated again, that whatever worked in the past year will continue to be perfected. Humans never learn. But I like this idea of hope sometimes. Today, it’s a small good thing.
L’shana tova — happy new year, everyone. May 5774 bring us all a lot of happiness.