I’m finding myself in a strange sort of liminal space as I await the birth of my daughter. She’s with us, but not quite here. We’re standing at the threshold of what will be, counting down the days until we can fully step into this new season of life.
Sure, there are things we need to complete as we prepare for her arrival, but what we find ourselves doing more than anything else is waiting. I look ahead, wondering who she will be and what she will look like, but I also spend a lot of time looking back. Somehow, two months away from becoming a mom, my own childhood feels closer than ever.
It’s been a difficult winter for my dad. Nothing major, thankfully, but it seems like every time I talk to my parents, they’re on their way to another doctor’s appointment. They’ll contact me when they have some answers, and my first follow-up question is typically, “Why is this happening?”
“I don’t know,” my mom will respond, “just old age, I guess.”
I hate that answer. I want it to be something else, something from outside sources, like the weather. Old age is too real and unchanging. It seems to unfold so slowly, the aging process. It feels like it happens in spurts of transition until, suddenly, we’re moving to a bigger home to make space for the baby while our parents are downsizing.
I was on the phone with my best friend after hearing about another appointment my dad had with a specialist of something. “I know this sounds crazy,” I prefaced, “but I just wish everyone in my life could be the age I want them to be, all at the same time.” It resembles the plot of a complex science-fiction film, but it’s what I find myself desiring most as I wait in this liminal space.
I want my parents to be the age they were when I thought they were old—around my current age—but I want my daughter there too. I want the generations to blend like a dozen buckets of spilled paint, with my grandparents coming back to life as their younger, more agile selves. They would, after all, love to know their great-granddaughter. As for me? I would be there, of course, soaking in the impossible goodness of my past and future converging.
I daydreamed for a while with my best friend before pausing for a thoughtful moment: “But that’s not how life goes,” I said out loud, mostly as a humbling reminder to myself.
What I’m dreaming about sounds like Heaven, but I’m not there yet.
This is life. This journey where time passes at a rate none of us can control. It is a revolving door of hellos and goodbyes.
Life is “remember when…” and “I hope…” being spoken in nearly the same breath.
This is life, and it’s a sweet and sour journey. It’s the experience of being able to look back at the muchness that was and look ahead at the muchness that will be—the joy, the hope, the pain, the struggle. It is goodness and grief in every season. It is the reality that the loved ones of my past and of my future may not have many years together, but they will absolutely have a connection. My daughter will know all about her grandparents and great-grandparents. She’ll see photos of their faces and eat meals made with the recipes they passed down to me. She’ll know the traditions they began, and she’ll hear the quips I so often heard them say.
Life cannot give us the best of every season all at once, and it was never meant to. Maybe that’s what makes it so precious; there are good people and sweet memories popping up throughout all of our years. All of our most loved ones are not—cannot be—in our life at the exact same time, but that doesn’t mean we cannot soak in their memory at any time.
My daughter will never meet my parents in their thirties, her aunt and uncle as kids, or her great-grandparents—but she will know them all. The generations will blend together, even if it’s through the stories I tell and the photos I keep. This is life—sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it hurts, but oh my goodness, is it extraordinary.
Mallory ‘Larsen’ Redmond received her master’s degree in Theology & Culture from The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. Recently married to her husband, Darren, she is enjoying this new season of life as a wife and writer. She loves dry humor, clean sheets, and gathering around the table with friends. You can follow her writing here, where her stories are told with the hope of further uncovering the places of connection in our humanity.