This Magic Moment


A relationship, measured by minutes

by Lisa M. G. Dennis

A moment. A brief instance in time. Our days are full of them. One following immediately after the other. Most of them pass without any notice. But some. Some insist we take note. They whisper to us. They shout. They insist they are something bigger, something magic, something larger than ourselves, larger than time. If our relationship were mapped on a clock, these would be those moments.

2:17 AM: The room is dimly lit. The rhythm of her heart over the monitor fills the silence. I look down. My doula is dozing at my left and my husband is dozing at my right, both ready to help me through the next contraction. I doze off in the peaceful moment of the night.

3:00 AM: Her hand is warmly resting on my chest. She’s asleep, but eating. He sleeps peacefully down the hall. The soft moonlight from the full moon casts a blue hue in her room. I recognize that it’s brighter than it was a week ago and know it will be dimmer in another week. The world is right.

5:48 AM: Standing together in the bathroom in the early morning. I turn to him and say, “Hi Daddy.” Are we ready to do this again?

6:00 AM: Waking up cold together in a tent. I’d meant to help re-inflate his air mattress in the middle of the night but forgot to close the valve. He doesn’t complain too loudly.

6:18 AM: I want to surprise him with it later. He isn’t supposed to know what I am doing. Yet he senses something is different when I get up. And there is no denying my smile as I leave the bathroom and crawl back into bed. Our daughter is going to be a big sister.

6:48 AM: Standing together in the bathroom in the early morning. “How many lines do you see?” We’re finally pregnant!

7:04 AM: Thirty plus years ago my dad pushed me in a stroller across several finish lines. Seventeen years ago he and I ran across this same finish line at the end of my first marathon. Now I’m pushing my daughter in a stroller as we cross the finish line together at the end of a 10K. I feel the generations connect.

9:49 AM: “One more push and she’s here.”

10:57 AM: She reaches up and touches his nose. “Honk.” Her first laugh. Little bits of magic are released into the world.

11:37 AM: “I hereby bestow upon you all the rights, privileges, and honors appertaining to your doctorate degree.”

12:05 PM: He comes home from work at lunch to make me a lopsided birthday cake. The lopsided is purely unintentional.

1:30 PM: We’re married. It’s just the two of us, alone after the ceremony, drinking it all in.

5:00 PM: Perhaps he shouldn’t be surprised to come home and find me standing in the backyard with a make-shift obelisk if he was joking about wanting one in the backyard earlier in the day on Facebook. That face is priceless.

6:17 PM: My cell phone rings. She looks up, recognizing the ring tone. “Hi Daddy!” We get shoes and go outside to wait. Daddy is coming home.

7:13 PM: He holds me in his arms as we stand under the patio and watch the monsoon storm thunder past. The clouds leave a perfect sunset and the world turns orange.

8:27 PM: “I love you,” he says for the first time. A minute later I finally reply “Really?”

9:43 PM: Standing together in the living room. Sobbing into his shoulder as he sobs into mine. Our son is gone. But he left us hope. I got pregnant once. It can happen again.

10:45 PM: The exact moment of the June Solstice. He tells me I am the light of his life and asks me to be his wife. I say yes.

Lisa M. G. Dennis

Lisa fancies herself a scholarly wife and mother, and has the business cards to prove it. Her PhD qualifies her to be a “very smart mommy,” something she always dreamed of being. She hopes some day to write a real life book but in the mean time settles for occasionally blogging while her daughter naps and dabbling in the bare edges of quantum physics, intent on proving that toddlers are a macro-quantum particle.

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  • Anon

    Oh goodness. This is fantastic.

  • KBE

    This is such a beautiful piece. Life really is a collection of precious, fleeting moments. While one makes your heart crumble and break, another makes it swell with unbelievable happiness. Thanks for sharing!

    • scw

      what KBE said!

  • Grace from England

    This is all kinds of beautiful.

  • I love this. I love the mix of times, the mix of moments. I just love it.

  • Philippa

    I adore this. Love and life and loss and time, and sometimes not knowing a moment changes us until it’s gone. Beautifully done.

  • Alejandra

    It’s been a while since I’ve read APW, but this called out to me. Wonderfully written. Cheers!!

  • RoseTyler

    Amazing! Simply beautiful writing.

  • Kayla

    I clearly need to leave my desk and get some coffee, because I read the first third of this like it were the same day. 3 AM give birth; 6 AM go camping; 7 AM announce pregnancy; 10 AM have second child. That’s the part where my coffee-deprived brain realized I was doing it wrong.

    Then I re-read it and cried on my keyboard.

    • Jess

      It’s ok, I did the same thing.

    • My husband did that the first time he read through it too.

    • KateS

      same! :)

  • Love the chronology…moment-by-moment

  • Kelly

    Wow! This took my breath away. Now I’m contemplating my own spiral of memories and fleeting moments…Thank you.

  • Sarah

    Wow, now I am crying at my desk. This is beautiful. Thank you.

  • vegankitchendiaries

    LOOOOOOVE this. Didn’t need a “cry alert” but maybe a “broody alert” would have been good…

  • Emily

    Read it twice to myself, and then once aloud to a friend in my office who is struggling to not get lost in a maize of infertility appointments. A good amount of tears have been shed for not even noon on a Friday.

  • Beautiful, as always. Love you Lisa!

  • DM

    I love this. It reminds me of the moment I realized there was magic in my life, my life became magical.

  • Melissa the Researcher

    This is just great. The magical and the fabulous and the totally unexpected, all rolled into one. For whatever reason, it’s the obelisk one that makes me cry every time. :) Thanks for writing it.

  • Rachelle

    wow. Tears.

  • KC

    I love the obelisk. :-) Sense of humor? Check!

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