Saturday, December 18, 2004

What a lovely little Saturday, gray outside as it may be. I woke up to hear Dereck jovially greeting someone at the door and gradually came to the consciouness that it was Karl, and so I got up and got dressed and came out for coffee and some sinus headache pills, and that is how I started my day.

We are having dinner with some friends tonight, and our kids will play with their kids, but it is tempting, since Karl is in town, to call our sitter and see if she is available tonight. But I have not done it. It is just a thought bouncing around in there.

Christian has been hanging out with me all day, with Tommy and Sam intermittently coming either to show me something that they have built (Sam) or to bounce on me and kiss me and tell me how squishy my butt is (in front of company) (and that would be Tommy). Tommy's teacher gave him a book for Christmas and I read it to him last night, but even before then, I heard him reading aloud parts of it, and toward the end of the book, he stopped me to try different passages. That is remarkable progress for him-- it just makes me want to cry.

The other night when I was lying down with Tommy, he said, "Little boys want to look cute for little girls, Mommy."

"So the little girls will like them?"

"No, so they will love them."

"Do you want to look cute for little girls?"

"No, I'm not that kind of boy."

"What kind of boy are you?"

"I am just a boy."

None of my kids want to get married. Sam, because he is petrified of sex since I described it to him (I just told him a clinical explanation, I swear!), and Tommy because, "I think I would get tired of taking my kids to school every day."

"No, you wouldn't," I told him.

"Why not?" he asked me.

"Because when you are a parent, that is what you do. You love your kids so much, you would do anything for them."

"So you will do anything I say?"

"No, that's different. I meant parents would do anything for their kids that would be good for them."

"But you said you would do anything for me."

"You're just going to have to trust me."

Speaking of which, I did finally tell Tommy today about Halo 2. I don't think it has really sunk in yet, but that is okay.

We are heading out on Tuesday, and that means I have to pack (and make sure the ants in the space antaquarium are still alive without Christian The Little Shadow seeing me do it) and we have to check the weather. Today Joyce mentioned to Dereck that there might be bad weather in Pennsylvania, so we may have to temper our journey a little bit.

I've still been in cell phone denial, even though it died on me in the middle of a conversation the other night again. Dereck will have his cell phone on our trip, which makes replacing mine seem less urgent, but I asked him the other night what he thought I should do and he said, "You might as well just replace it." And that is probably about right.

Yesterday I was at the post office (stupid me) and I saw a young mother with two absolutely gorgeous children, but she just looked fried. She was neatly dressed, but her pony tail was wilting and she was eyeing the children warily as though they might suddenly start speaking in tongues at any moment. I have been her before. I am still her now, occasionally. I didn't even notice what the small boy did, who can't be more than two, but I recognized in her picking him up swiftly and stalking out that whatever he was doing, he was not listening to her and she felt self-conscious about it. At least, that is how things have gone for me before-- I was only casually watching her, lost in my own memories of early motherhood. A few minutes later they came back in and I had at first thought that she had taken him out and spanked him privately and then came back, but they came to the counter to retrieve the child's flashlight, so I was wrong, but she still looked exasperated, though she was very calm and gentle with the little boy.

When I think about how hard some of those days, weeks, months, years were with my little tiny children. It is so much easier now in terms of not having to hoist them everywhere, but so much more difficult in other ways. My heart aches for them in their little worlds. It is hard to see the big picture of the scope of their lives, it is hard to see these little moments in time as just that: little moments. And they will have others. A lifetime of little moments, all counted up with Prufrock's coffeespoons.

And I wanted to say to that young mother, "You're doing great! Look how beautiful they are!" But instead I will say to my own expression of beleaguered motherhood, "You're doing great! Look how beautiful they are!"

Because in the grand scheme of things, I am, and they are.

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