Groundhog Moments

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

It’s Groundhog Day, and Punxutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter. As two of my Instagram friends discussed this snowy morning, “there’s never been a more Groundhog Day than today.” (Thank you @littlelodestar and @lemead)

You see it’s been snowing pretty much nonstop for a while now. It all started with Juno, the Blizzard of 2015—was that only a week ago? When I realized it was Groundhog Day today, I started hoping, irrationally that Phil (the groundhog) would see his shadow and in six weeks voilà it will be spring. (I say irrationally hoped because I really don’t believe that Phil can predict or not predict anything—he is a Groundhog after all.)

But predict he did.

That’s not what this post is about. Not really. It’s about the iterative process of life. About the predictability (and unpredictability—shall we say serendipity?) of life. The hopes of life. The moments of life. Because the other side of Groundhog Day that has become legend (in addition to Phil) is the movie Groundhog Day. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Not only because it’s good, but because it has become iconic.

And that’s what I was thinking about this morning. Not the snow falling outside (yeah, yeah, another foot. What’s another foot when you’ve got three or so already?). Well, first I thought about the snow. Then I thought about the movie, and Bill Murray’s character reliving the same day over and over again.

I started thinking. Which day, days would I want to live over and over again? Murray’s character didn’t get to decide. But as long as I’m reinventing things, I’ll say I can. Decide. I started thinking while I woke up this morning. Which days?

Topping the list (of course) are the obvious ones. The days my children were born. The day my husband told me he loved me the first time. I reconsidered, realizing that while I definitely would want to live those days over and over again, there are other less obvious contenders.

The day my son harvested garden vegetables with us when he was just four. He carried a pumpkin he’d grown from a seed onto the stage of the 4-H Perfect Pumpkin competition (alone, he told us to stay in our seats in an auditorium of about 400 people), and walked onto the stage to claim his prize for “the perfect pumpkin.” That day.

The day I strolled arm in arm with my teenage daughter down the L’Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris. That day.

The day our young family drove across California on the roadtrip of a lifetime and my son made up a song about “Dusty Mountains in the Distance,” and my son and daughter (five years old), unbeknownst to me, got into a competition to see who could make me mad first. That day.

Actually, any road trip day with either of my two kids is a day I’d like to live over again. Talking, playing, singing, napping, looking at colleges, the companionable silences, even the bickering and the complaining (mine as well as theirs). Those days. All of them.

Or a day like yesterday. MEH (My Engineer Husband) and I enjoyed the first sunny day in a good long time by going on an outing. It was cold and of course there was snow, but it was beautiful. We went to Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth and watched children (and some adults) sledding with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop. We visited the “Portland Head” lighthouse. We took photos—many—as is our wont to do. Ice coated the huge rocks surrounding the lighthouse. We met a small Yorkie Terrier running faster than any dog I’ve seen, across fields of ice. We chatted with Clyde’s “parents” for a few minutes about Clyde’s Patriots shirt (yes the Yorkie was wearing a shirt). They were excited about the Superbowl, and they’re probably even more excited today. Maybe today’s a day—or yesterday—many Patriots or Patriots fans would want to live over and over again.

I digress.

Yesterday was a day—an everyday day—that I’d want to live over and over again. Days like yesterday provide the framework of my life, they give my life meaning. They remind me that it doesn’t take much. A sunny day. An hour car ride with someone you love. A beautiful lighthouse to take photos of. A call from your daughter. An email from your son. A warm house to call home. A delicious meal shared.

These are my Groundhog Days. My Groundhog moments.

What are the days you’d want to live over and over again? The moments?







  1. Lindsey says:

    Oh, I love this! I’d relive the days both of my children were born, for sure. And probably the last day of my 30s, which I spent driving to the kids’ camp, having reunions with them after 3.5 weeks away, and then watching the last night celebration, and then the sunset on the beach, and seeing my parents. It was a perfect day.

  2. What a beautiful post. I totally agree. My “joy jar” has put this rather beautifully into perspective already; every note I’ve dropped in has been something small. Sunshine in January, kitty snuggles, a lovely hike, a date with my husband. Nothing (yet) has been a huge accomplishment or a life event. But these little things are what make up our lives. Really, the ordinary days are so wonderful. I’m glad you’re a collector of them, too. 🙂

  3. Julie Luek says:

    What a great, thought-provoking post! I’m not sure which days I’d like to live over and over; I’m always so grateful for the moment I’m in! But I do hold a couple memories dear, and they usually involve a very intense loving and peaceful moment with my kids at various stages of their life. We’ve heard it over and over: they grow up so quickly. But it’s so true. And every now and again, I am gifted moments of pure contentment– a lot of times when I’m with someone who fills me with joy, or a quiet moment in nature. Those would be nice to capture again from time-to-time too.

  4. Julia — Like you, I the value of the ordinary – the things we have the best chance of giving and receiving freely and in abundance like listening, laughing, kindness, caring, helping, sharing, observing, being present, and being thoughtful.

  5. Cherry Harris says:

    Soooooo glad you’re making the best out of best out of the white stuff . I know it causes trouble but it also bring the best out of us… I am convinced . Such a privilege to hear your joy .
    Like you I have many memories of family and friends but this incident happened only a day ago and I would dearly like to frame it .
    As you know I am new to the area, and to cut a long story very short , our new and amazingly kind neigbours invited us around for belated Christmas dinner . It was so wonderful the Welsh are the kindest of people they have opened up their arms and invited us in …I’ll never forget the food, the laughter and most of all the company . I have been so ill for years not allowing anyone in …it was almost like being born again .