I'll never forget the time I introduced my firstborn to the other sister when he was two weeks old a mere slip of a person with just a breath of hair. I'd gone up to my mother's house where I found my great-aunt sitting in the living room in the middle of the day wearing a pink robe.
I peeled the receiving blanket away from my baby's round red face and presented him to my great-aunt.
She looked at him with tired eyes and pronounced, "Well, they come into this world and they go out of this world."
Then she stood up and shuffled off to Buffalo. Wearing a pink robe.
Life is so mysterious sometimes, isn't it? Why was my great-aunt sitting in my mother's living room? In the middle of the day? Wearing a pink robe?
I'm still not sure.
I was, however, sure of this: I never ever wanted to be like that great-aunt. I never wanted to be the person who could look at a brand new baby and then suck the joy straight out of a room.
Fast forward to the final days of 2012. I'm older now. There's been a lot of living since that moment I unveiled my firstborn (he's 32!) and guess what? I sort of get what that great-aunt in the pink robe was all about.
Life even a life that is relatively free of big drama has a way of wearing you down if not completely out. And, as a result, the temptation to respond with a certain amount of apathy becomes huge. Or at least it has been in my case. I feel that creeping apathy these days in the way I connect (or don't) to the things I've always enjoyed: music, books, my garden, travel, the view of mountains to the south.
Little by little I have begun to turn into a person sitting in the living room. In the middle of the day. Wearing a pink robe.
Which makes me think of a story my dad used to tell about the great NFL quarterback Kenny "the Snake" Stabler. Stabler was asked what Jack Call of the Wild London meant by the following quotation:
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
Stabler replied, "Throw deep."
Maybe this story London's statement, Stabler's response is apocryphal. Who knows? But it speaks to me right now. So if I get around to making a New Year's resolution, it will be this: Throw deep.
And if I can't throw deep, at least I'll make the effort.
Ann Cannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/anncannontrib.