For our last month of our senior year, undoubtedly certain we would have lost interest in classrooms, our high school had us intern at a place of our choosing. I decided to spend my month at a preschool, which seemed like a natural fit at the time, and makes even more sense now that it’s become my job.
It was my preschool, where I had spent my earliest years, and I loved – even then – the idea that my education had come full circle that way. I have always been a romantic. The poetic nature of time was not lost on me.
On the playground, I was the pusher of swings. I’d pull back and let go and watch little bodies lift higher and higher. “To the moon!” They would yell. We made up stories about the adventures they would have, about all they would see and do and experience when they got there. They were imaginative and hopeful in a way we tend to forget. There is so much we leave behind.
One afternoon, he went and sat on the tire swing. It was his favorite. He loved it more than anything, in the only way children know how to love.
I began to spin him around. “Faster! Faster!” He cried. And out of love, I obeyed. I pulled and pulled and pulled. And round and round and round he went. He giggled. He laughed. He shrieked. “Faster! Faster! Faster!”
And then he threw up.
All over himself, and all over the swing. I stopped it immediately and crouched down beside him, offering comfort and sympathy. “It’s okay, buddy,” I said. And he lifted his head, looked me straight in the eye, smiled, and said “again!”
That was nine years ago now. He’s in middle school and has most likely forgotten all about that day, and so many others. Time moves so fast.
But I’ll always remember that little smile. I’ll always remember what I might have forgotten too, had he not been there to remind me.
I’ll always remember what it feels like to love something so much it makes you sick. To love it so much that you’re willing to be sick over it, time and time again. To understand the scary consequences of your love, and love anyway. To love with that kind of wild, reckless hope.
As for me, I know nothing else but love – hopeful love, and scary love, and painful love, and happy love. I know that all feeling stems from and bends toward a type of love, that even sadness is a form of love. I know that we spin round and round and round in love. I know that the only way to participate in this world is lovingly.
I have always been a romantic. The poetic nature of time is never lost on me. It goes faster and faster and faster, and we are lucky just to hold on. Sometimes we fall off. Sometimes we get sick. Sometimes we are lifted as high as the moon, and sometimes we are knocked back down to earth. Adventures come and go. We leave things behind and we carry things with us. We remember and we forget. We learn and relearn, time and time again.
Everything moves in circles. We return to the past to make sense of the present in order to make room for the future. And then we start again. And we keep doing this, over and over, as the world spins round and round. We try to love the way we did as children, scared but reckless, in the wildest of hopes.