1. To be slow in leaving, especially out of reluctance; tarry.
2. To remain feebly alive for some time before dying.
3. To persist: an aftertaste that lingers.
4. To proceed slowly; saunter.
5. To be tardy in acting; procrastinate.
To pass (a period of time) in a leisurely or aimless manner.
A few weeks ago M and I were walking into the grocery store to grab
some popcorn for the movie I was showing at the Library. In front of
us walked a family. The mother held a carrier with a newborn in her
right hand, in the left she held the fathers’ hand. He in turn held
hands with their preschool aged son—dressed in a superhero cape. As
soon as I saw him I wanted to bring that boy home. Surely we have
something that needs saving here.
When I relayed this story to a friend, she told me of a little boy she
once knew who wore a dragon costume everyday. His parents even cut out
a hole in his snowsuit to accommodate the tail. And today one of my
littles came to the Library dressed in a Santa hat. I longed for the
days when T would have worn one. If I could go back I would submerge
myself in those moments. Like the first Christmas the three of us were
together, the bed covered in wrapping paper and T thinking the
crinkles were so funny. Or the year he was two and we came to visit
Vermont; all three of us seated on the airplane, each lost in a book.
I found this quote today:
‘Sometimes when you open book, time stops.’ The author, Ned Vizzini,
died this week after a battle with depression. I think of all the
truths he wrote into his books, all the teens he helped over the years
and I am mournful and filled with gratitude all at the same time.
I seem to be a magnet for emotional news stories this week, somehow
they stay with me long after I finish reading. Someone forwarded me
the Twitter story Billy Baker wrote about helping the teen brothers in
Boston. I sat scrolling and sobbing, and for an instant the world
stopped spinning. With such an economy of words yet overflowing with
sentiment, I learned about how Baker filled in the cracks of their
lives—buying a dorm fridge and prom tickets and mentoring them the
best he knew how. His own mentor told him that he needed to show up
for those boys, to be a constant. And so he did.
What is it about that holidays that make you feel like you are on this
roller coaster with intense highs and plunging lows? I wish there was
a chance to hit the pause button and tarry in a single blessed moment.
Some mornings, if I am lucky, there is a slower pace to our beginning.
A chance to look over and see M still sleeping and contemplate how
blessed I am. To think about putting the kettle on, to make a cup of
tea and crawl back under the covers with a book or my writing.
That would be my definition of a perfect start to the day. I trust
that the coming months will bring us a few of these unhurried
In the days leading up to the end of the year the pace is frantic.
There does not seem to be time to linger, to savor. The weather is
turning frigid which means you cannot meander nor would you want to
ramble or gambol. Those are summertime movements. But if ever there
was a moment in time to dwell in possibility, to limn the line between
what was and what will be, it is now.
I think of my imagined Christmas list and all of the things I wish for
in my heart. I know that most of these things are impossibly large to
fit under a tree. Yet I still hold a hope that these longings will
I know that M and I do not have infinite days, I want to make what we
have together last and last. When I close my eyes and think of him
these words come to mind:
“Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.”
He has found his way into the chambers of my heart, to the very fiber
and bone of me. I hope he will linger there for always.