It's been hard to write the past year. I am no longer the wife who just lost her husband or the woman I will become. I am in the middle. I am rounder around the middle. I am middle-aged. In the middle of a sentence, I can't remember what I was saying.
It's the kind of middle that feels like I am sitting on a bus in-between two strangers who used to know me, or the first day at the all-girls Middle School and my new plaid skirt is too stiff. It's like when I take my dogs on a summer walk and at the point where I turn around to go home, they settle onto a wet patch of grass and don't want to move.
It's an exercise class that is only halfway through and I thought it was almost done. It's the middle of the night when I am wide awake and say "Alexa, what time is it?" and she says "1:30 AM;" or a mid-life crisis when I buy a new car and it does make everything a little better until my 15-year-old daughter backs into the deck pulling out of the driveway.
It's the 13.1 miles into a marathon when the crowd has thinned and all you can hear are feet hitting the pavement, moving on with busy lives. I run faster to keep up with their expectations, but they are out of sight. It's usually mid-July when it seems everyone is on a family vacation.
It's the so-so kind of middle. I can't complain because life could be worse, but I miss the days when I was excited about a date night at Target followed by a movie.
It's the middle of a movie and I don't recognize the plot, but I am the writer so I try changing my lines.
The middle is binging on Netflix mid-day on a Sunday afternoon. A 70 degree day in mid-February, the big blue sky out west in the middle of nowhere, and a full rainbow centered perfectly in the sky.
It feels like a second wind at the half-way point of a marathon. And the smooth pit of an avocado cut in two.
It was Jan and Peter Brady and being old enough to stay up past midnight to watch Friday Night Videos. It was my older neighbor explaining the meaning of the middle finger, and feeling a little cooler.
It's knowing that is my son playing mid-field in lacrosse by the color of his socks. It's seeing my daughter sing a duet center stage at her 8th-grade graduation. It's when my husband comes up in the middle of a conversation with my kids and it half-way brings a smile to our faces.
It's the friend who in the middle of her own life, does not forget to check on me. It's an invitation at exactly half past the hour when we need it the most.
It could be the intermission of a Broadway musical and the second act has all of my favorite songs and being half-way through a book you can't put down. It's deciding that the middle of your life can be like chapters from the Choose Your Own Adventures books you read in 6th grade.
It's the moments betwixt & between when I don't wish I was younger, and I stop telling myself I am getting old. It's adorable babies smiling in the middle of the grocery store, and being happy to come home to my daughther and her friends hanging out in the kitchen. And then knowing better than to interrupt them in the middle of their conversation.
It's winter break between semesters or summer solstice in the middle of the sun's journey around the Earth. Or in the middle of folding laundry, finding the lost earring he bought me in my pocket, and standing next to my handsome Middle School son and realizing he is almost taller than me.
It's counting the number of times my friends make me laugh and when I come up with the average, deciding I am not too busy to meet an old friend for lunch at noon. It's finding myself in the middle of a messy house, on my laptop, writing again.
It's closing a door and being hopeful about what you can't see behind another.
It's the end of who I was and the beginning of who I will become. I get to write the beginning, the middle and the end.
Whitney Houston, The Greatest Love Of All (frequently seen on Friday Night Videos) - the photo is my favorite place to be in the middle.