Some good, healthy reflection is important this time of year

Many of us who read the sports page (and perhaps those who don't) unwittingly live our lives by mirroring the sports calendar, ever perpetual and relentless. There's always another game. Or somewhere else to be. The movie never ends. Even holidays now. Stop and smell the roses? More like weed wack them because who has time to water, nurture and prune?

Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of this time of year.

We have no choice but to stop and reflect. Time's passage, forever merciless, suddenly becomes a backdrop for all that has been. And what will be. And we are left in the middle to ponder Paul Anka's timeless line, "good morning, yesterday ... you wake up and time has slipped away."

This is the time of seminal moments: proms and graduations. The last day of school. Moving on. All catalysts for reflection, uncertainty and other feelings of vulnerability for which we're too seemingly busy to consider.

But it's good.

So good.

So healthy.

So necessary.

Now anyone who knows me knows this much: I am a sap. Hopeless romantic. I believe in tomorrow. I believe in the magic of time and space. I believe we are powerless against destiny and what's meant to be. Just as I sat to write this, I came upon a quote on Twitter that read, "Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments. Keep the faith. It will all be worth it in the end."

That's why the powers of observation are so powerful during May and June. Here's what I observe almost daily: Even the most hardened among us, even the ones who build walls and believe emotion begets weakness, stand there and pose for photos with the kids at proms and graduations. And you know, somewhere deep down, they are happy and proud and maybe a little melancholy, too, at how time's passage is the winner and still champion.

We realize, maybe watching our kids walk across the stage or enjoy a graduation party, the one inevitability of life: change. Dig your heels in all you'd like. Change is coming. Your thoughts, feelings, circumstances. They all change. Sometimes, things happen to force change. Sometimes, it comes naturally. But man, when you see your little guy or little girl growing up, there's this subtle tug somewhere that demands we take inventory of our lives, too.

So I guess that's how we arrive here: Take the opportunity, in this time of reflection, to reflect.

We all have people in our lives — maybe one person, maybe many — who bear more importance to us than we let on. Maybe now's the time to say something. Hard? Sure. Uncomfortable? Yep.

But then, as we've learned with some recent deaths in our communities, you never know. Or maybe it's this: One day we'll wake up and the kids are going to the prom.

I'll start.

It's been a joy to volunteer in my son's Kindergarten and first-grade class the last two years. He's had the same teacher: Miss Kathy, otherwise known as Kathy Auperin. What that woman has done for my little guy is immeasurable.

I had to excuse myself a bit early last week from the last day of school, lest they see Mr. Mike start to blubber. The little guy is moving on. No more Miss Kathy. There is solace, sure, in always remembering your first-grade teacher. But the thought of her suddenly in the rear view mirror brought a momentary feeling of terror.

I'm going to wake up soon and hear Harry Chapin: "What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys. See ya later, can I have them please?"

And so to Miss Kathy: Thank you. You'll never know your impact. (All you other teachers out there, too, by the way.)

Kathy, ever upbeat, said, "hey, at least now we can finally go out and have a beer together!"

Great idea.

It'll be July soon. Vacations, baseball games, camps and other forms of making merry. Soon, we'll forget the specters of May and June and what they teach us. Soon, like the sports calendar, there's always another game, dinner in the car and little time or interest to reflect.

But a day or two in thought isn't such a bad thing.

We raise a glass to May and June in appreciation.

And if just one of you reading this reaches out to someone and speaks from the heart ... May and June have done their job.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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