There is magic in packing a mold with wet sand, turning it upside down, and watching that mushy stuff come out clean and straight-edged, solid as a building until some small hand smashes it.
This week I've felt that way: at one moment in the sun with firm edges, a defined shape; in the next, a mound of sand, soft and scattered, then again pulled back into a mold to stand again because I must -- because I have to handle the situation in front of me, because the cabinets are a mess and I'm the one who has to tell the guy refinishing them, because the basement floods and someone must meet the gutter man to talk about rerouting the water flow, because all the vanities are the wrong size and have to be exchanged again, because... And I stand until once again it's all too much to hold and --smoosh-- until I can be gathered again.
This morning I slushed. Ben and Silas left for a weekend in the mountains (Camp Thor, designed by my brother), which left Eden and me here. My to-do list was pressing -- to run a zillion errands for the house, unpack, clean plaster dust, to make time with just Eden special, to organize a pool party in the 104 degree weather -- I find I'm creating a lot of pressure for myself these days... It took me until about 1:00, when I realized the kitchen guy was NOT there or coming and that Eden, more than doing any of the activities I kept mentioning, just wanted to sit close enough to touch. So, in the 100+ degree day, we did what she wanted: we sat on the porch swing and felt the hot breathy air move against our faces, back and forth, as we leaned against each other. Slowly, I began to release my agendas and swing.
The rest of the day was calmer -- we painted at the kitchen table, we sludged through the hot air to buy blueberries at the market for our first pie-day-friday-movie-night, we swam, and played "Brave" which, without knowing anything about the movie plot just meant I was a little black bear and she was "Brave," a name which inspired her to dive for the first time!
It's hard to loosen the self-pressure. Transition to DC has changed from deeply emotional to physical -- a house to unpack, work to get done, errands to run, a baby to grow, two kids running around, a list for summer play, and then all the other things I'd like to do: make art, read, go on dates, build friendships, write, find a church, drive to the beach etc.
Over the years, my mom has had words and phrases she's gotten hooked on and repeated like mantras -- pointed reminders of what is at the heart of things. For a long time, her word was "allow" -- to allow a situation to be what it is, to allow another to react as she will, to allow your feelings without judging them, to allow yourself to be in transition, to allow yourself no energy to build the friendships you'd like, to plan the party you want, to drive to the beach for the day -- to allow.
Today Eden was my wisest teacher, pulling me once again from sand to shape, down on the floor to watch her pacing, her disregard for every task beyond the marker in her hand, wanting simply for me to meet her there and allow the moment to be just that.