Thursday, November 07, 2013


If I could have any superpower, it's always been to teleport -- more than flying, more than superhuman strength, I'd love to blink my eyes and arrive (it's the destination, not the journey...). But tonight for the first time, I wanted a power more than that.  I wanted the superpower to multiply myself and maintain a unified consciousness -- to at once rake in the yard with Ben; sit on the yellow couch with Eden, stroke her hair and ask her dozens of questions about her day; wrestle through word sorts and spelling words with Silas in the dining room; pick up crying Maeve who is clinging to my leg and rock her weight against me; stand in the kitchen alone to open the oven without fighting off Maeve with my leg; walk alone under the pinkening-gold that's spilling over the clouds right now and take a deep breath -- to be fully present to all of these at once.

Instead, though, I am leaving Ben to rake thousands of leaves alone while Silas and I work on "fruit" and "suit" and "dude;" I'm running outside to rake with Ben until Maeve's yelling turns to crying in the half-dark yard and I have to carry her in kicking and put her in the tub; I'm sitting alone for three minutes on the kitchen floor, Maeve screaming in her bed, with a glass of Malbec writing as I wait for the lasagna to be done; and then unexpectedly, I have a stolen moment with Eden who pokes her head in.  I get to hold her 5 year old self for a minute and ask about the fireworks of her day.

{now it is tomorrow}
After everyone was finally tucked under blankets and quieted by the dark, the 60 degree day faded to a night still warm enough to sit in.  Ben and I walked outside and sat on the front step, a slivered moon lit up through the branches.  The air smelled sweet -- leaves and earth and the cool dark -- and absorbed some of the exhaustion we both carried from raking and wrangling.  We just sat, looking at a scattering of bright stars and for a moment, I didn't need to be anywhere else.

Today Silas is home with a fever.  After the tylenol kicked in, what he most wanted to do was make a cardboard house (inspired by the wonderful book, If I Built a House -- love Chris Van Dusen) for his two bears.  I loved his wanting to house his bears and create something.  But standing there with Maeve clinging to my legs crying -- because either she doesn't feel well, some tooth deep in her gums is pressing, or she's simply ornery already at the age of one -- feeling sleep deficiency stinging my eyes and making my head heavy, I couldn't imagine helping him set up for that project.  So he cried, and I felt like I failed him.  Maeve yelled and clung, and I at least got breakfast's cold items back into the fridge.

But the day went on, as they do, and time extended its arms, as it sometimes does.  Maeve slept.  I ate avocado on toast.  Silas paged through some books and started to make the box house on his own.  Armed with a long serrated knife and gorilla tape (I couldn't find the glue gun), I came to help.  We cut windows and doors that he designed, hung curtains that look like stained glass, taped up a package delivery slot, and fastened fabric across the roof.  I think it still looks a lot like a mailing box with a little paper glued to it, and fabric taped on the inside, but he is thrilled.  He keeps walking by saying, "I can't believe we finished my house!!"  "I can't believe I made such a cool house today!"  A little effort worth it.

Eden got off the bus crabby and angry about missing house-building and a day at home -- and hungry (hangry!) because she didn't eat her lunch.  Maeve continued her yelling/incessant hold me!/shaking her head no, and Silas's fever kicked back in.  Hairy.

But now, we are waiting for Chinese food to come.  Silas's fever broke and he's making music on the ipad, while Eden plays with Maeve in the basement -- a playing that sounds like lots of shrieking and LOUD squealing laughter.  They have a magic chemistry where somehow their four years difference dissolves into play they both understand.

This must be how days work -- frenetic to calmed, racing to lying on the ground looking at the leaves.  A woman I knew in California called it inhales and exhales of the day.  We need both, she said.  These inhales seem to last so long that my chest hurts and my throat feels tight, but then, at some point, I always get to exhale, even a short exhale and there's release.  And so, as I pause at the table for a second, before the onslaught of dinner and bedtime, I will tell myself to keep on breathing.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

you capture the day so perfectly - keep writing sweet friend