To Pause at a Threshold (Or: What in the world happened to the time?)

“Whether or not it seems sacred at first, a threshold can become a holy place of new beginnings as we tend it, wait within it, and discern the path beyond.”
-Jan L. Richardson

I find myself at a threshold this morning–stepping from what was and into what is to come. Life is made up of thresholds. Some are momentous: like a wedding ushering you into a marriage or childbirth ushering you into motherhood. But many thresholds are cloaked in the ordinary moments of ordinary days and can slip right by almost unnoticed.

Today’s threshold is of the latter kind. We woke up today and ate breakfast. The boys went to school. I put a load of laundry in the washer. My daughter and I marked today by eating lunch at a nice restaurant together. We played tic-tac-toe and I Spy while waiting for our food. I dropped her off at preschool. Tonight we will go to baseball practice. Tomorrow, we will wake up. Eat breakfast. The boys will go to school. They will be home before preschool starts tomorrow afternoon. Summer vacation cannot be here soon enough for them.

It will take a while to find my summer rhythm. I’m often slow to adjust. And when fall arrives in a few months, we will wake up one morning, eat breakfast, and all three of my kids will be heading back to the school down the street.

I am no longer the mom of babies or toddlers or preschoolers. This has been my role for over a decade now. A new rhythm awaits.

photo by Jennifer Holmberg


Where is the time? (To quote my Oma.)


I am both excited and left with an ache that is almost regret. I wonder whether I savored this time appropriately. I worry that I let it just slip by unnoticed in the rhythm of every day life.

I wanted this year to be so special. I wanted magical, memory-making moments.

My ideal days have a trace of golden sunlight surrounding everything. That is not the world that I live in though.

Most of our days were absolutely ordinary. My daughter played with friends and cousins. We played at parks once in a while. We visited the zoo a few times. We spent a lot of time at home. We are a family of homebodies. We’ve had plenty of time that has slipped by unnoticed, and she may have watched too many episodes of Curious George.

Where does this idea come from: that normal every day is not enough?

Not only are my idealized days cloaked in golden beauty, I expect myself to be wide Awake and open-hearted, fully appreciating the moment that I’m in. I certainly don’t spend every minute of my day with this kind of wonder. This does not describe the last decade of my life by any means.

But occasionally, I do catch fleeting glimpses of these wide-awake moments.

Most of the time, these moments don’t reveal themselves at special outings or while we are on our rare adventures. These wide-awake moments can and did happen in my living room. They happen when I walk my daughter to preschool and we talk about the signs of spring. They happen when we squeeze hands with our special I-love-you signal. My wide-awake moments happen when the weight of my daughter rests on my lap and we share a good story. They happen when I marvel at her big gray-green eyes and creamy smooth skin. When she is busy performing on her stage (the coffee table) and trying to memorize the lyrics to Starfish and Coffee.

What is there to regret? These sweet memories made up of ordinary time spent together usher us to this new threshold. New memories of ordinary moments wait to greet us on the other side.

2 thoughts on “To Pause at a Threshold (Or: What in the world happened to the time?)

  1. What beautiful reflections at this threshold! Crossing a threshold can bring both excitement and uncertainty about the new. And often a sense of loss mingles with the sweet memories of what was. There can be so much pressure to make everyday extraordinary and to treasure every moment. I love the ordinary days. Thinking of you at this threshold. 🙂


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