But one paragraph has come to haunt me. Shulman is telling the story of her life and her marriage before she moved for the summer to a remote island. She recalls:
[I was] unable to imagine my life without the children, our dinners together, our elaborate projects, our afternoon walks, our late-night talks. And then one day—just like this, in the middle of the paragraph—they too were gone.
I keep thinking about that passage. It has given me a wistful nostalgia for my present life, which seems quite salutary.
Right now, I often feel overwhelmed by children. For example, the notion of reading a book for an hour without either being interrupted or falling asleep sounds like an impossible fantasy. There is so much activity, so many items on the schedule, so many objects to track, so much artwork to display, so many clanging toys.
When I find myself longing for peace and quiet, I remind myself—enjoy this time! The days are long, but the years are short. Soon enough, we won’t have broken crayons in every drawer, and I’ll feel terribly sad about the disappearance of the very things I’m complaining about now.