I knew enough to know that I should have had a silk scarf to tie my hair back. But when you’re living out a moment you’ve only seen in movies, you don’t always have the proper accessories on hand.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ed Sheeran’s latest hit single “Castle on the Hill” has captivated me and brought me back to the summer of 1997, exactly twenty years ago. He sings,
“I’m on my way,
Driving at 19, down those
I still remember,
these old country lanes,
When we did not know the answers.
And I miss the way, you make, me feel,
I was 19 myself all those years ago, and yet I don’t feel old enough for twenty years to have passed, to be thinking back fondly on these moments. I feel the same - just a little more tired. But I remember sitting in that car that drove too fast up and down the hills in the dark, the convertible roof down, the stars shining brightly when the street lights couldn’t compete.
I liked him more than he liked me, but that experience was typical for me at that point in my life. And it’s funny how he almost doesn’t exist in my memory of those moments. It’s more about the music, the same driving bass line that emitted from the club music he preferred.
I rarely wore my hair up - I still rarely wear my hair up - so when he called to take me out for a drive on a beautiful summer night, I left my hair down. Maybe it would matter to him, I thought then (it didn’t). I couldn’t contain my hair as it whipped around me while we drove, and eventually, I gave up and let it go. And in letting it go, I had one of those perfect moments, when you know you’re making a memory while it happens.
This past year of parenting has changed me. Watching Hannah become a bat mitzvah, alongside so many I’ve had the privilege to watch grow over the past years (or decade), I now see we are on the other side of something. Assuming a stereotypical path, Hannah has just five more years at home. They will be unlike any other five year period we’ve had with her. If this past year is any indication, they will be a period of less and less time together, of making time where we can, quality versus quantity. There will be challenging conversations, and times when I can’t do much more than listen. Her world is expanding so quickly. She is looking to me for more and more answers, and yet I don’t feel like I have many more than I did twenty years ago.
I don’t think it’s about having all the answers. Or maybe you find answers in experiencing those rare moments, the edge of danger and the comfort of safety, foot tapping, singing, hair whipping around you.
(I just watched the video for the first time when I went to add it here - I had no idea it showed them going around in a convertible too. :) )