A Day in the Good Life

My Basis kids, Caleb and Savannah, have the whole week off.  Believe me, they've earned it.  They've done the work of an entire year in just nine weeks.  And then some.

My other two, trudged reluctantly back to school today, as I pumped them full of promises of a couple more days off at the end of the week.

Minus David, we all spent the day yesterday playing round after round of Bang! and eating the weekend leftovers.  This morning Caleb and Savannah slept blessedly late and then we played a few more hands and an opening match of Caleb's new game, Power Grid.  Then we went for a late lunch and a lazy trip through Barnes and Noble, mostly just to browse.  It was a near perfect way to spend the day, and I feel nothing but lucky to have them to myself for the week.  Believe me, I've earned it too.  As amazing as I am, chauffeuring and cheerleading and championing has worn me thin.  It is not to much to say that for the past month, the thought of this glorious week in my future has been the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning.

Tonight my three oldest have gone to the temple.  It's Savannah's first time inside.  When I was ironing Caleb's shirt, I overheard Olivia reassuring Savannah not to worry, that she would show her what to do.  And she will. David is on his way home from surgery committee.  He had a terrible day, but I will cheer him up because I could not have had a better day.  I even managed to wash and fold the laundry in between my turns on the game board.  I was fun and efficient.  A near impossible combination.

This morning as I was sorting laundry and doing dishes and picking up pens and highlighters and General Conference notes, I found a treasure: Ethan's careful summary of each talk.  Succinct little sentences of what he heard.  They were a revelation, sweet and tender and unaffected.  Then under the notes from President Eyring's talk, Ethan had written:

President Henry B. Eyring talked about the temple and how you can't see Jesus Christ inside the temple.

Which probably wasn't quite the message President Eyring wanted to convey.

I smiled.  And wondered if there were any talks that I had misinterpreted as well.  What a job those men have!

Speaking of difficult jobs, mine was a very good one to have on a day like today.

The Stories My Camera Could Tell

We bayed at the full moon, the full moon almost as full as our hearts.

We ate birthday smores.

We waded upriver and tried to float back down.

We played football and chess and Bohnanza in the woods.

We sat around the campfire and told our favorite stories about Ethan.  Mine was about the time the principal called because he had beaten up a third grader. 

Just for the record, it was a glorious weekend in the wilderness. 

Who needs Eden? 

Seven Already

Last night I had Ethan on my lap fresh from his bath.  He smelled delicious.  Soap and skin and childhood.

While he was sitting there, I told him that he almost didn't make it to earth and Savannah said, "Really?  Or are you just making that up?"

Apparently Savannah thinks much of my reality is fiction.  (She may be right.)

I said, "Really,"  and inhaled his damp hair again.

This morning when David kissed me, it was longer than usual, with some slow tenderness thrown in for good measure.  He was remembering.  How close he came to losing me.  How close he came to losing Ethan.  How lucky we are.  How everyday is a miracle.  Oh yeah.

A couple of nights ago, Ethan fell asleep while we were reading.  David carried him to bed and Ethan's legs looked as long as tree limbs sticking out from David's arms.  When did that happen?  His body used to curl.  Now it is straight.  Straight up.  Straight out.  All the time, his bones are going and going, his muscles and cells and brains and skin, all going and going.

Won't you stay? Please?

David put him to bed, and while the earth spun around its axis he grew a little more.

Tonight we will build a huge bonfire and dance around it like banshees and tell the moon how happy we are that this boy was born to us.  And he will crawl in his sleeping bag and look at the stars until he falls asleep and then he will grow all night long.

Among his birthday gifts this year were two chapter books, a chess set, and a large map of the world.

After he left for school I looked at that pile and winced.  Sometimes you can barely get your heart and mind around this thing called motherhood.  I am betrayed by myself at every turn.  I bought those gifts.  As good as packed his bags and stamped his passport, said, "Go!  Go!  Look!  Explore!  Learn!  The whole wide world is yours!"

What I want to do is lock the doors and lose the keys and deny the visa and ground the flights.

Or at the very least, tuck a note in his socks that says, "Go, then.  But please don't go far."


Happy birthday, little ninja. 

December Seventh and Ninth

First, the seventh: 

Ethan awoke on Monday morning in tears.  I had let him sleep in and so he had to eat breakfast alone.  Lonely pancakes would make anyone cry.  But this was only the beginning.  He cried about getting his shirt over his head.  He cried about not being able to get his feet in his shoes.  He cried about his itchy socks.  He cried because his thumb was sore and how was he going to write and paste with a sore thumb.  Through his sobs he told me there is lots of pasting in kindergarten. 

I suggested he stay home to let his thumb rest.

I called the school and told them he was sick.

Sick of school.  Sick of the pressures of pasting and cutting.  Sick of the stress of counting and reading and the letter G.  Damn letter G.  Graceful and gregarious, yes, but also grim and grueling, to say nothing of grinding.

The other kids were just as sick, but their thumbs were not as sore as Ethan's and so I made them dress for school.  I gathered them in a circle for prayer and gave a bolstering pep talk where I said things like, "it's just ten more days" and "we can do anything for ten days" and "come on, you'll feel better once you're out the door."

But I knew exactly how they felt.  By that night I told David that I would not be able to go on without some serious incentive.  Which always involves some serious necking.

He listened to me cry about my inadequacies and the unrelenting grip of entropy (both of which would make anyone cry) and my ever-growing list and my broken kitchen faucet and my itchy socks and my sore thumb.  He tried a bolstering talk but I wasn't buying it.  I interrupted him and asked if we could just skip to the kissing. 

And while he was kissing me I listened to the pouring rain outside and wished for a snow day.  Wished I lived in Wisconsin or Michigan or Massachusetts and we were bracing for a big winter storm.  Wished to be socked in, snowed in, with no school and no work and no lists, just a fire and grilled cheese sandwiches and board games all day long.  Just ten more days I told myself.  You can do anything for ten more days. 

And it was enough light and love and resurrection morning to get me through another day.

And now to the ninth:

Today is my mom's birthday.  Even heaven remembered and sent a glorious sunrise.  When I saw it I immediately recognized it as a birthday banner.  And I could see my grandmother's hand in it.  She still has impeccable taste.

We celebrated early this year, as all my brothers and sisters were in town for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We had a surprise party at a restaurant that is really a cooking school and we all cooked dinner together and I learned the proper way to cut up an onion. 

I am posting these pictures as a birthday banner of my own to the woman who taught me everything except how to cut up an onion.   Love you, Mom.




[Editor's note:  We missed Emily and Anthony who had to go back north for finals and reading week.  And my camera lens jammed before I got a proper picture of Lisa or Christian or David (I think the back of your heads are lovely by the way) and before I got to take a picture of the end results.  They were delicious.  After dessert I declared I had never eaten a better cookie and we had a thorough "discussion" about the merits of the chocolate chip cookie versus the mexican wedding cookie, which until that evening I was completely unaware had any merits at all.

Whatever.  I'm still thinking about that little bite of powdered sugar heaven.]