all of the selves we Have ever been
When my son was a toddler
trying to absorb language and grasp the difficult concept of time, he would sometimes preface a question about the future with the words “after this day.” “After this day will we go to grandma’s house?” or “After this day will I go to school?” Anticipating the future, he began trying to understand its denominations—minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Even little ones desire clarity about what’s ahead. That yet-to-come time can be puzzling, exciting, and fraught with uncertainty.
“After this day” reminds me of the language of fairy tales and the world that existed “once upon a time.”
It has a dream-like quality that makes my head feel fuzzy. What is real? Imagined? Possible?
Nearly six months have passed since the start of the year 2020, and yet it seems like one long, harsh day. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and ask myself, “Did all that really happen?” It reflects the feelings of unreality we all share during this strange and difficult time of microscopic invaders, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and looming dangers like financial ruin and social injustice.
What will happen after this day?
Fairy tales entertain and educate the young. The stories provide life lessons about dangers lurking in the world, about how to face challenges and solve problems. The tales give us examples of how to be heroes even when we are reluctant or afraid. Heroes are good, kind, brave, smart, resourceful, and do what needs to be done. Despite difficulties, heroes win in the end, triumphing over evil and villains, captivity and harsh conditions. Often the hero endures trial after trial to save someone else.
Sounds a lot like parenting.
I am trying to endure and be brave though often I feel a fool. I am going through my own trials but still trying to outwit the enemies and rescue the world for my children. I will never outgrow the desire to be a hero for them. And I owe it to that sweet toddler boy who once upon a time believed in fairy tale princes, magic beans, and a mother who could see into the future.
May we all live happily ever after…
After this day.