Maeve is six weeks old. I am sitting at the table, rocking her on my knee while outside the kids stand around a galvanized tub of fall fire, "making torches." I am not sure this is the safest game. Ben is grinding down some azalea stumps to smooth out our small hill and ready it for possible sledding.
Today we took a date, rented DC bikes and cruised around downtown to a Ramen noodle bar and thrift shops. We are weathering the low-grade tension that lives in the corners of these days of small people and full arms, and sometimes yells from the driver's seat or kitchen doorway... It was good to be together, to bike behind him and watch him boyishly weave through traffic the way he always has, to follow the shape of his back and sit elbow to elbow over tangles of noodles. Walking through Adams Morgan I could feel the gnawing want to be wrapped in a scarf, wearing fingerless gloves, sitting at a laptop with books, papers and a large coffee outside Tryst, or lingering with Ben over a long breakfast and the newspaper. These are not days of leisure, or time alone or creative space -- all things we crave. What I tried to remember, walking down that street past the brunchers, is that milk will not spring from my body ever three hours -- on a date or not -- forever, that one day I might be sitting outside a coffee shop alone missing a squirmy girl in a striped dress gnawing on her fist as she lies across my lap.
She just spit up down her face, into her ear, and onto my leg...
Maeve is balding and cooing these days. In the mornings I can steal a rare bright smile from her, and today her tiny purple Mary Jane socks stay on her feet.
Eden received face paints for a gift and has drawn two lopsided hearts on my chin and cheek, one large American Flag -- which greatly resembles a French flag -- on my other cheek, and a blue paw print on my forehead. So that's what I look like right now. She is amazed by how good she is at face painting and may begin offering it curbside.
Silas has no school tomorrow or election day and is reveling in the freedom, as if he's a 15 year-old missing exams. I keep trying to think of fun plans for the hours Eden's at school , but I think he may be most happy to sit on the floor in my attention and build with legos. So we will.
And so the days unfold into November. I am trying to remember to stop and be thankful, especially when I find myself frowning or banging around the house -- both things I apparently do in the mornings, before dinner, and just before piling people into the car (is that most of the day?). I am trying to practice smiling (to counter the frowning). I am beginning a book called Seven and hoping it will jolt my complacency. I am especially missing the park and California these days, which may be a sign of sinking deeper into real life here; Maeve was the final big change in the series, and she's here, the last loose end tied up. Now it's all about learning to walk on this new footing.