Today is chilly and damp. A woman I just met at the library called it "daydream weather." I would have called it something more like "dreary," so I am trying on her perspective, daydream weather...
I've spent much of many days sitting on the bathroom floor reading books to Maeve, who's learning to use the potty. Try as I might to get out the door to Trader Joe's, the potty trumps, and we, again, settle into the bathroom while I force myself to read Maisy goes on Vacation five more times. When we finally enter Trader Joe's, she asks for the bathroom -- in the very back of the store -- so we go, navigating the disgustingness of the public bathroom, and she goes a tiny drop. Then we schlep back up front to the dairy aisle where I begin to stack yogurts in the cart when she urgently announces she has to go again, so back we go, to the far corner of the store, and wait in the blue bathroom, 15 minutes down, the list still pretty much untouched, while she sits and sits and never goes. This is potty training -- lots of wet undies, much inefficiency.
But I like it. I like it because underlying all the laundry and toilet seats are days of rare undividedness: I stare at her; I stay with her; I talk to her as she plucks the illustrated cats and bunnies from the pages of books we're reading and lays them down to sleep on the footstool. I'm taken with her smallness, her little legs and feet that hang off the seat, her dainty shoulders and arms, the way she looks at me out of the corner of her eyes and blooms into smile when she hears her own success.
Today she's napping early, knocked out by her own efforts. So I am here, bundled in a sweater, drinking tea, and watching the oak leaves fidget in the breeze. We are all cartwheeling into a new season together. The dogwood's reddened leaves sway.
Right at the edge of October, the sting of our morning separations quieted, too. Eden's found that it's easier to leave than be left, so she kisses me in the living room and runs up to the bus stop just with Silas. There are still a few mornings when I see one of them through the dark bus window pressed up against the glass, forehead and palms, looking like some Disney animal being dragged off to the pound, but thankfully these are fewer and farther between.
I was listening to a friend yesterday talk about how she can just look at her kids and ache through to the bone, cry even, because love is that devastating, that deep.
Sometimes I try to protect myself from being conscious of that kind of love, from feeling it, because it punctures clean through. It hurts. It's easier to talk about pee on the rug than how she stands at the marker board coloring dots and wiggling her hips to the music. It's easier to tell the story of running through the house with an almost-peeing child hanging on to my body than to tell how I found "I love you love Eden" scrawled in 1st grade handwriting on a blank page of my journal.
But in fall, there's no hiding. The leaves changing before the eyes to fire shades, the wind blowing clean but tinged with earth and decay, the "daydream weather" and golden sun edging each leaf, pouring over us all; the searing beauty makes us raw-aware: it makes us love.
The notion's kind of romantic, I know, and smacked into a day littered with a pushy morning trying to get out the door, collisions with wills and too-short shoe laces, tears and sharp two-year-old shrieks. I even locked myself in a closet earlier to escape from the yelling. But nonetheless, it's here, fall, exposing how deeply we love that which quickly changes.