The last day of summer. The last day of school. The last child you'll ever have.
The last day of being the most recent Golden Heart finalists and winners.
When my husband and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, we had six children, the oldest nine and the youngest a two-year old toddler. Exhaustion was our watchcry and irritation a byword. We didn't buy gifts, we didn't go to dinner, and we didn't celebrate that May 21. We were too tired to contemplate the enormity of getting a sitter, getting dressed up, getting out the door.
I flopped into bed around 7:30, right after the baby hit the sack.
I tossed, turned, and twisted. Shards of guilt hacked away at my peace. A decade, that ought to be good for something. I jumped up, penned a quick poem -- very hackneyed and highly reminiscent of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I taped it to the shower wall where I knew my husband would find it in the morning.
"I could not love you more if it were ten times ten that we two as one had been ... " You get the idea. What can I say? I was young and got high on internal rhyme in those days.
The point is that it was not the last day of our marriage, our love, or our passion; rather, it was a benchmark on the road to a mutually satisfying union. I didn't need to create an immutable artifact for that day.
Today is the last day of our reign as Golden Heart finalists and I feel that same sense of urgent commemoration. Where are the drums? The cymbals? The apocalyptic heralding of . . . something.
I want a farewell party. A de-initiation. A disembarkation from the mother ship. An assurance and a guide to the perilous and often treacherous sojourn into the world of published writing.
To celebrate, I sit here in my writing space sending bangles and bubbles and baubles your way, fellow Six Packers. I'm thrilled to be part of such an elite group. One that never will -- and never can -- pass this way again. But one that, like a strong relationship forged in fire, can be stronger than ever. Love you, guys.
jo, the sentimental fool