I am alone tonight, as my husband is enjoying a richly-deserved poker game with friends. He came home early and was the dutiful daddy, helping me to get Carter fed and put to bed, to unload today and get ready for tomorrow, to make sure I was content before taking off into the night.
So I putter about in my little kitchen, snacking on hummus and broccoli, making mango puree for my son while Cat Stevens warbles plaintively from iTunes, and I feel at peace. And in the sweet calm of this solitary evening, my thoughts wander back to a night many years ago, to a soft summer evening following my high school graduation, when a couple of dear friends and I lay in the grass of the plaza in my small town. There was nothing to do and nowhere to go, and as we stared up at the immense night sky blanketed with thick white stars it suddenly seemed that everything was possible, and the magnitude of it sent a current through the three of us. We could go anywhere and be anything. We could have reached up and plucked a star from the sky.
That was almost thirteen years ago, and back then my dreams were occupied by fantasies of fame and glory. A family was the furthest thing from my mind. Tonight I putter in my kitchen, preparing baby food and nibbling on vegetables, listening to the smooth thumping of the white noise machine's heartbeat that means that my baby is fast asleep, and I shake my head in awe at how different my life has turned out from those teenage visions of grandeur. And I smile to myself and think that John Lennon was right, that life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
And if you're very lucky, sometimes the life that happens is more grand and wondrous than anything you could have imagined.