Friday, December 30, 2011

A Final Quiet Thought for the Year

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, a day on which we traditionally deal with the fact that we and everything we know are getting older by making resolutions to spend this precious gift, our lives, better.

But mortality doesn't bother me.  I came to grips with it twenty-eight years and seven months ago, when Sean was born.  After Marianne had held him for a while, the midwife picked him up and placed him in my arms.  I looked down at his little lavender goblin face and a tremendous wave of emotion washed through me and I burst into tears.  Someday, my son, I thought, you're going to grow up and turn me into an old man and then I'll die.  But that's okay.  It's a small price to pay for you.  This sounds like the sort of thing a writer would make up after the fact, but it's not.  Those really were my thoughts, word for word, at the time.

Every year on New Year's Eve, I pause to reflect on the ticking of the clock.  And my original judgment holds true: a good life, a small price.

Happy New Year, everybody!  Spend your lives wisely.  But if you can't do that, waste them well.



JJM said...

I remember cross-stitching a little scene of mother and child, and going crazy trying to come up with some words to add that would be fitting. And suddenly realized that your own announcement letter supplied better words than any book of quotations or poetry ever could.

28 years. Has it really been that long??? You mentioned in your blog at one point that Sean had his own apartment, and I thought, good heavens, that's progressive parenting, letting a teenager live on his own ...

Michael Swanwick said...

Your cross-stitching still hangs on the wall of Sean's room, highly valued, an object of secular devotion.

Astonishing, though, how quickly time passes.