I was just giving birth, nursing babies, raising children, going to little league games and school plays.
I was just at a parent teacher conference about report cards, then buying new shoes because someone outgrew the ones it felt I just bought.
I was just cleaning wealthy peoples houses to help Jack pay for our first house and two of the kids to have braces.
Not a few months ago it seemed I was picking kids up from VBS and trusting our oldest son Callahan to mind the younger ones so I could run quickly to DeMoulas for some groceries for supper.
Im sure it was only yesterday I managed to buy a nice suit for Cals prom, or was that a beautuful dress for Flannerys? The next thing I knew, Gage was graduating from the marine corp and going off to war in Iraq, while not a moment later it felt I was watching Dolan shipping out to Alaska after he graduated from the Army… I remember the night in Mass General when my young niece Jillian slipped into eternity while my sister Colleen and I and a couple of my kids and Pat Doe Sr. and Tina Arroyo and their sons stood there, all of us so broken hearted as we took turns holding her hand and weeping at her bedside…
Then I must have blinked.
Because today, the stark reality is that our handsome boy Callahan is going to be 36 this year. Gage is going to turn 32 in May and has given us two grandchildren. Flannery is 30 years old and living with her beloved husband far away up in Vermont and Dolan, our “baby”, is a full grown man of 28 who works with his hands long, hard hours and comes home dirty and exhausted and, after a hot shower and a bite to eat, goes to bed earlier than I do.
Dolan is over in his apartment, sound asleep before me, just as when they were all so little, and my greatest comfort was knowing that they were well fed, scrubbed clean, hugged, kissed, prayed over and tucked safety into clean beds and safe. As they slept all under one roof, I remember I’d sit with a cuppa and think how crazy busy Id been all day and how glad I was the long day was over and we were all now just where we ought to be… in our house all together and safe and sound.
Then, I blinked.
I blinked and my children grew up.
I blinked and my sister and best friend Colleen left and went Home without me…
I blinked and we were living way up here in Maine, in an old Inn of all places, and I had gray hair and wrinkles and saggy boobs. I go to bed each night wrapped up in the arms of a man who is almost 61 and has much less hair than the man I married years and years ago, before I blinked, but I think he’s just as handsome. Of course my eyesight isn’t quite what it was before I went and blinked…
L-R Dolan, Flannery, Gage, Jillian and Callahan