Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (5.5.19-23)
When I saw that Linda’s Stream-of-Consciousness prompt was to write about any word starting with “t,” “tomorrow” came to mind. It’s that time of year when we take a look back at our yesterdays — although I hope not as pessimistically as Macbeth does in his dark musings upon hearing of his wife’s death — and prepare for the tomorrows the new year will bring.
Actually, I would say that 2014 was a fairly good year for my immediate family: I saw one son graduate from college and another son graduate from high school; my oldest daughter fulfilled a long-held ambition to travel to the United Kingdom, the “home of Shakespeare and Milton and Stonehenge,” as one of our favorite geography songs puts it. I personally fulfilled an ambition of crossing the continental United States and finally feeling the waters of the Pacific Ocean for the first time. My husband and I returned to the hotel where we spent our first night as man and wife (hmm, maybe this is getting a bit too personal for a blog post), and my younger daughter thrilled us all with her performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
While my youngest son didn’t achieve any memorable milestones, he has changed from a little kid to a big kid in the past months. For the first time in years, he did not want action figures for his birthday or Christmas (the two events are uncomfortably close together; may I just say that, for the sake of evenly spaced present-giving, everyone should have a birthday in the spring or summer). It was a strange fall, though, with only two children living under the roof, and I don’t seem to be transitioning too smoothly to the smaller-family model, both in terms of cooking and homeschooling. (I’m perfectly happy to be doing less laundry, however.)
One unsettling aspect of life in recent years is that “tomorrow” is much more difficult to define. So many questions are unanswered, and it is a challenge to plan for school breaks or longer trips: who will be able to go? what if Child #4 is at dance camp? what if Child #2 is in summer school? With the level of activity greatly diminished in the house, tomorrow is threatening to creep with petty pace from day to day instead of galloping on, as it used to do in the days of full-fledged homeschooling.
The other “tomorrow” reference that came to mind is more cheerful, fortunately. Over the holidays, I went to see the new version of Annie, which incorporated the musical’s signature song, “Tomorrow“:
The sun’ll come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
there’ll be sun
Just thinkin’ about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow ’til there’s none
When I’m stuck with a day that’s grey and lonely
I just stick up my chin and grin and say, oh
The sun’ll come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on
’til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away!
Songwriters: Charles Strouse; Martin Charnin
With the exception of “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” most of the original songs from the musical Annie get short shrift in the new version. Despite being slammed by the critics, the new Annie was more uplifting than I had expected, thanks to the chemistry between Annie and her millionaire benefactor, but I went into the theatre with fairly low expectations, having seen the trailer a few times. My biggest disappointment was that some of the songs I like best in Annie were hardly there, and “Tomorrow” was no exception.
My real problem is not so much with the remake of Annie failing to capitalize on “Tomorrow” as with my own tendency to focus on yesterday, instead of tomorrow. Unlike Annie, I didn’t have the experience of yesterday being “plain awful,” as expressed in “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” one of my favorite Annie songs that failed to make an appearance in the new movie. No doubt I’m glossing over the bad moments of last year, but yesterday was good. It’s tomorrow that I find scary, and knowing how to plan for tomorrow.
Maybe that’s why I found myself clicking on a friend’s shared link on Facebook for free planners — daily, weekly, and monthly. One of the problems for the homeschooling mom is that she must create her own schedule. While I do fairly well following other people’s schedules, making my own has always been a challenge. Dawdling over the morning paper used to be my downfall; now, I’m more likely to get sucked into the tantalizing news items offered by my email site or find myself spending too much time reading posts on Facebook or WordPress. Maybe planning for my “tomorrow” will take away some of its ability to intimidate me?
Here’s an even more encouraging reference to “tomorrow”: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). While non-planners like me might benefit from trying to schedule our days more efficiently, the one certainty in life is that there will be curve balls and unexpected hitches even in the best-laid plans. Tomorrow surely will bring both joy and sorrow: I might as well meet it with a smile on my face, as the new-millenium Annie does.