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Andrea Lani

Writer ~ Naturalist ~ Mother
Time expands, then contracts, 
all in tune with the stirrings of the heart.
~ Haruki Murakami
Eighteen years ago I held my first child in my arms. Approaching his one-month birthday, he was holding his head up and his eyes had cleared from milky newborn blue to bright, sparkling sapphire. Everything about him seemed longer, stronger, and less babyish. I turned to my husband and cried, "He's growing up so fast!"

I had no idea.

That baby graduated from high school last Friday. I spent the morning, when I should have been getting ready for work, searching through photo albums for his first-day-of-preschool picture. I remembered it so clearly: his lime-green Oscar the Grouch sweatshirt and the faded red Australia baseball cap that he never took off. How enormous his mini backpack appeared. How tiny he looked walking up to the school's red front door (that part I misremembered—the door was gray). How full of hopes and dreams and possibilities I was. How both nervous and eager to learn he was.

I'm not going to say it seemed like yesterday, but damn if those fifteen years didn't fly by. Which is not to say there weren't interminably slow times—that year I had two infants and a four-year-old, which is shrouded in a fog of exhaustion; age eleven (or was it nine?), when my sweet boy became a sassy know-it-all; the hour-and-half betwen 6:30 and 8:00 p.m., which lasts a lifetime when you have young children.

I finally tracked down the album with the photo I sought and went outside to take its corollary—the last day of high school. I wished him well, watched him drive out of the driveway, and burst into tears. My baby had grown up so fast!

That evening, after a comedy of errors trying to get everyone to the Civic Center on time, I watched that baby march across the stage and receive his diploma, now a self-assured and self-aware young man, and one of the most content people I know, ready and eager to move onto the next stage. I didn't cry—I'd released all my tears that morning. I didn't feel sad or nostalgic or wistful. I felt happy and proud and full of love for this man, that baby, that little boy.
Upcoming Workshops
Summer Nature Journaling. Fields Pond Audubon Center. Holden, Maine. June 29, 2019.
Sea Kayaking and Nature Journaling. Castine, Maine. September 7-8, 2019.
From the Archives
"Raising Private MiloBrain, Child Magazine, Spring 2010

Literary Mama
I'm an editor in the Literary Reflections department at the online journal Literary Mama
We seek great essays about the intersection of motherhood and literature.
Submissions guidelines.


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I hope that whatever life brings you this month, however momentous or minute, brings you joy in every moment. 
~ Andrea
Copyright © 2019 Andrea Lani, All rights reserved.


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