The Time Of My Life

It is Alice’s 19th birthday, today and I wonder, was that the time of my life - when we first met, when the operating theatre fell silent and they recorded the time on the clock, 4.44pm and there was breath and life. Or later, when they brought me tea and toast, when the feeling in my legs returned and I realised, I wasn’t paralysed, after all. Or was, it much later, when I saw who you have become, Alice, when you said, “I’ve made a mistake and I want to come home”.

Or was it during all the jumble of years in between, when somewhere amidst the domesticity, the admin and the tears, so many tears, when I wanted to freeze the moment, press pause, breathe - all four of you sleeping in the back seat of the car, a chance to pick up my thoughts again, all the meals and stories around tables, on beaches, in airports, seeing the world together, going somewhere, coming home.

Or was it almost a quarter of a century ago now, when those tentative conversations became a lifelong commitment, to take me on completely as I was and am, to love and cherish, accepting I’d never obey. Is the time of my life, every single day, when you say “Morning, honey” as if seeing me afresh again, for the very first time?

But what about that sunset over the Bay of Naples, or the lights over Belfast as the wheels hit the tarmac, the view from the top of the mountain, God’s creation spread out before me, the fish and chips, steaming hot, straight out of the paper, sitting by the sea, or the perfect dress that went with the perfect shoes and my hair stayed in place, or every Friday when it’s five o’clock somewhere and I close the laptop and hear the cork pop. Or when I sat by your bedside and I watched the fear leave your eyes as the doctor said it wasn’t bad news.

Maybe the time of my life was when I pressed publish for the very first time and someone said it was good and then I believed I could do it again, that maybe I have a gift that keeps on giving, one I never have to give up or give back, one that no-one else can control, that is mine, completely and totally mine. Or maybe it was when I navigated the streets of Paris by myself, drifted aimlessly by the Seine and I knew I was stronger and braver than I thought.

But I think there isn’t one time of my life, the time of my life is always today, it’s what I’m doing now, who is with me and what I’m making of it, it’s the past and the present and the future, everything I know and all, I am yet to know. It’s trusting there are more ‘times of my life’ to come and that it’s not finished yet.


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Deborah Sloan

I’m a mum of four girls who recently left a career to focus on writing. I write about leaving, change, career, motherhood and life. @deborahjsloan on Twitter