Mashed tomorrows and gravy

September 8th, 2009

mashed-potato“What day is tomorrow?” my daughter asks. She’s three years old and I couldn’t be more pleased that she has learned the days of the week.

It seems precocious, and more evidence of what I hope will be an accelerated future.

“Wednesday,” I say.

“No, what day is tomorrow?” she asks again.

“Today is Tuesday, so tomorrow is Wednesday.”

“But when is it tomorrow?”

I’m no longer sure what she is asking.

“It goes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,” she ticks them off. “But when is it Tomorrow?”

When is that day called “Tomorrow” that factors so eternally in our plans and schemes? I gape at her clear-eyed misperception, at her supremely intelligent confusion. How many times have I lost her in the mists of my ramblings about that never-to-come day?

Everything, it must seem to her, is going to happen Tomorrow. And for good reason: it’s where we adults live most of the time, straddling the yucky puddle of the here and now, teetering on our tippy toes to affix one foot on a better future. One we think we can control. It simply can’t be done, and so we keep toppling over, face first into our good intentions. We complain that our lives are out of balance, and wish we could one day learn how to live in the moment.

I hear a lot about living in the moment. I hear about how and why and when and how hard it is to live in the moment. The truth is, there is not a single person alive who is living anywhere but the moment. It’s just not the moment we have in mind. The moment we aspire to live in is a different kind of moment, a better kind. A moment of solitude, perhaps, of quiet satisfaction, of thrilling accomplishment or satisfying retribution, of deep confidence and unshakable certainty, with children asleep and ducks lined up and ships come in and an extra spoonful of gravy on top. That’s the moment we are waiting to relish.

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  1. I just can't wait for your next book!!!

    Comment by michelle a. — September 8, 2009 @ 4:32 am

  2. Thank you for the re mind er.jeNN

    Comment by big Jenn — September 8, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

  3. love this.

    Comment by brittany — September 8, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  4. This strikes me so poignantly today. It is so true. That other moment, the Capital T Tomorrow one. Sweet Georgia – I love the way our babies' supremely intelligent misperceptions point us back home every time.

    Comment by jena strong — September 8, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  5. I have been so preoccupied with my two scoops and a cherry on top lately that I seem to have forgotten I am already abundantly lucky and alive.

    One of my favorite toddler moments with Dylan involved a Diaper Genie. He just couldn't make it appear, but he desperately wanted those three wishes. 🙂

    Comment by Cam — September 8, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  6. Thinking of Tomorrow reminds me of Yesterday, another day about which I think too much, sometimes with regret and then plans to do more/better. That then gets me started on Tomorrow again . . . maybe if, like my own kids, I still had a tenuous grasp on time, I would focus on Today more, just like they do. In fact, I've been a bit saddened to realize that their grasp of time is "improving."

    Comment by J — September 8, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  7. wrapping my arms around this moment.

    Comment by jessamyn — September 8, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  8. When I am sitting, I often have these linked thoughts: "come on, let go, just be here…" immediately followed by a whispered, "wait, wait, first finish this line of hope/fear/planning/witty commentary, then you can let go…"

    When I am with my kids, I often have these exchanges: "Daddy, can you look at/play with/help me?" immediately followed by my distracted, "Wait a second, first …"

    Thanks for an awaring post,


    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — September 9, 2009 @ 2:10 am

  9. LOVE this!

    Comment by Elissa — September 9, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  10. Oh, this is so true! Thank you for pointing out this obvious-but-oh-so-elusive-truth in such a creative way.

    Today I will strive to at least join my mind and my being in the presence by visiting a labyrinth.

    Comment by Lisa — September 9, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

  11. oh those kiddos…they really know how to get ya. loved this.

    Comment by latisha — September 9, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  12. Out of the mouths of babe's in its truest forms….

    Comment by My Life My Life My Life — September 10, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  13. "tomorrow' and "eventually" live in the same place for children.
    They spend their young days waiting for them, only to find they never arrive. They are my daughters least favorite words.

    Comment by Dhana — September 11, 2009 @ 7:08 am

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