Some days there’s so much to share but none of it is interesting or original so you don’t say anything.
A kid lost his ever-loving mind in front of a guest because he discovered you’d eaten his laffy taffy. The kitchen is covered in dirty dishes. Again. And there are days you despair of ever catching up on all the after school activities and forms. Oh man, the forms. I sign them and sort them and turn them in and then they all turn up again tomorrow on my desk.
Some days I love washing the dishes. My hands are in love with my new sink and even the soap is a delight. Other days I’m full of resentment that it’s me, again, at the sink.
There are so many soccer practices I often drive to the wrong field.
And there’s a preschool daughter who gets schlepped along and I’m torn between feeling bad for her and feeling bad for myself that we both have to be there so much. Because at heart I’m the mom who’d rather be home cozied up with a good movie and a blanket. None of these are bad things – they’re just the pebble stuck in the bottom of your shoe that at first is only annoying but after a while makes you want to throw that shoe across the room.
It doesn’t help that I’ve been gone and Peter’s been gone – both for work – with a much higher frequency than normal.
Normal feels all stretched out and squidy around the edges when you’re splitting time and to-dos and yet it’s the stuff of life and marriage and kids and work that everyone lives. The panic of figuring out new school systems that require 5 days advance notice to make a change to the bus schedule and how that complicates organizing play dates for while you’re out of town. But you’re the grown up and while this still surprises you, this is the work of grown ups – organizing the mundane details that keep a family chugging along.
We’ve run right out of a steam a few times. Or at least, maybe it’s that we’ve each taken our turn to blow off steam – snapping at each other and biting off heads and corners of hearts – until we’re too tired to do anything else but fight the Wendy’s drive through lane and come home to chilli and baked potatotes that I didn’t have to cook. And we curl up next to each other on the couch – a kid on each side – and take comfort in simply being together and sharing our french fries.
See, nothing dramatic. Nothing out of the ordinary. Hardly worth writing about.
But this is the stuff of our seasons right now. How I drive the curving bends of Forest Avenue every morning and afternoon and never get tired of the golden, glorious trees even while I sometimes get tired of the driving.
We are a season of contradictions – life and death – like fall. Snapping and sniping all while loving each other fiercely enough to care that someone else was mean. We pass down the chocolate frosties. We hold hands. And at night I lie with Zoe in the bath and talk to her about beauty. About round preschool bellies that remind me of acorns – packed with all the potential to grow into giant oak tress. This is beauty, I tell her. This belly of yours loves you because it offers you life and length and growth and height – all stored up in there waiting for the right season.
She wraps her arms around my neck and we lie among the floating barbie dolls and it’s finally quiet.
Tomorrow we’ll discover we’ve run out of milk and there will be a panic when cereal is no longer an option for breakfast. I’ll be grateful we still have some croissants and someone else will eat a bag of Teddy Grahams. This is just what you do. You feed and keep breaking your days and your life wide open with the needs of someone else and it’s so terribly inconvenient for the lazy side of me that just wants to sleep in.
This holy work of making mornings a place of safety and the day a place of great expectations for elementary size kids.
Over and over and over again.
Morning by morning.
And when I look around the house on the days I haven’t made it to making the beds the sheets seem filled with last night’s laughter. And the abandoned music stand seems to chuckle with all those false notes played so enthusiastically last night. And the doll house furniture left lining the living room rug tells me it’s worth writing down.
All of it.