i need to do a great big brain dump here. downloading thoughts and events and photos just to put a place holder down for the hurt toes, the outrageously good experimental recipes, the guests who stayed, the plans just ahead on the horizon, the funny things the kids have said, the babies born, trips taken. all of it. because if nothing else, if everyone is long gone from here (and i don't blame you if you are), these pages have always been a way for me to carve out and protect the memories of our life. it is a modern day scrapbook, a social history, a family document of the way we lived.
my sister, shannon, right after chicago deep dish, right before labor
kaia, indy, temple and my dad waving back at the 4th of july parade
with leigh, late night in my kitchen, 4th of july
(and if i was a 'real' blogger, i'd be linking to all the past entries i've written about similar things and posting pictures of the past...but alas, i blog the way i parent which means you can never accuse me of being a helicopter mother and therefore, well, therefore ...)
on saturday morning, after i repurposed friday night's inaugural waffle iron waffles by putting them into the toaster and adding butter & syrup (and powdered sugar and chocolate chips), temple teamed up with me in the bathroom to get ready for the day. (toothpaste and a toothbrush that made me register the fact that it is high time i replace the toothbrushes in this family.) i can't remember exactly what it was, only that it was mundane. a rubberband for her braid or maybe it was even the toothbrush itself, but she said something to me - the first part of which i only half-heard - about looking for her hair-tie or the toothpaste or some other mundane need and then she said the second part. the part i heard.
it went something like this: mom, i need my rubber band...(long still pause)...that's an old bob dylan song you know.
of course i burst out laughing. how did this newly-four-year-old understand the whole bob dylan mood and pull this joke out of her hat? i swear, this child always slays me with her humor. she is a clown. with timing and wit and insight beyond her years. she'll draw a girl's happy face and then she'll add a pig nose, asking isn't this girl pretty? knowing that the pig nose ruins everything and laughing at us she tricked us into taking her seriously even for a second.
while temple and i primped (sort of, it did not involve a proper shower, just a quick rinse and our hair in a bun) satchel lounged in his jammies, already well into the diary of a wimpy kid series which he got from the library with his grandmother.
my boy, one of the last kids in his class to read, can't stop reading. it's as if he is suddenly catching up with himself. the way he all of a sudden decided to start eating solids, walking, being potty trained. a slow hesitance, a confusion or delay, and then... bam! he just gets the next developmental stage. heck, he was even born that way! three days of labor and waiting and then when it was time to come out, it. was. time. immediately.
trusting him and being patient has never been hard for me. my heart is still and full of sweetness when it comes to him. the goodness just radiates and the world is kind to him because he is kind to the world.
americana...this boy could be from another era
(as i write this, satchel asks temple if she wants to play with his legos, i'll let you if you are careful, always looking out for his sister. she replies: when i finish drawing the boogers on mom's picture. could the two be more perfectly suited as puzzle pieces? as siblings that make a circle?)
we have been having dance parties and sing-alongs. there have been late nights with good movies from our past (karate kid for example) and late morning lie ins on the other end to make up for going to bed so late. summer breakfasts and lunches are easier. morning summer camp is easier to get to than the first bell of school. as summer brings its ease and we all surrender to the softness of the routine and the pace, i realize that the weeks are tick, tick, tocking past us at a face clip and summer is half over already. so we are making plans for the next 5 or 6 weeks. let's make the most of it!
theater camp for satchel, swim days, zip lining through the redwoods, disneyland...all of it. and then, yesterday i get an email. an invitation. a summons. an all-expenses paid trip to brazil to write a magazine story about the mining and gem industry in brazil.
but i have to get a visa and make it all happen in less than 2 weeks. there goes seeing satchel in his off-broadway debut at theater camp. there, possibly, goes disneyland. and i put myself in a plane in the sky, sailing off around the world without my babies. without my husband. who am i without them?
untethered is who i am. whole and untethered all the same.
all i want is to sail off around the world with them. the four of us, a family. being together feels so awfully good. it is exactly what i have happily built and created over the past ten years.
and then i imagine packing a suitcase - just one - with my pretty lingerie bag and 2 oz toiletries and no nighttime diapers or baby tyelnol, no first aid kit. its just a bikini and work clothes and vitamins. chia seeds or protein powder for my breakfast perhaps. a few luna bars. i can re-read the recent goop column on travel tips for world travelers. it's been years since i've done this international travel thing on my own.
...years since i was offered the bride price of 100 camels and 5 mercedes from a sheikh in morocco. since i bought a porcelain doll & visited winter markets in koln germany while dreaming of romance. since i've riden trains with parisian philosophy students or taken the ferry with swedish youth searching out a great windsurfing spot. and each of those memories are etched in my mind for a reason. traveling opens doors. traveling lets me fall in love with life, see myself in new ways.
traveling is what i dream of. it's just that travel now means one still-pudgy 4-year-old hand and one over-sized 9-year-old puppy hand in each of my own. to have one rolling suitcase and a carry-on, time to get a massage at the layover station in the airport, time to read a book, have a shot of whiskey, time to browse the magazine counter...that is all as foreign as exploring a new land. foreign and glamorous and very lonely in its own way.
matt is home now, pouring himself a stiff shot of makers mark. his career is taking off and he is happy. a happy husband is a happy wife. our dear friend dave in vancouver, he always said a family is only as happy as its least happy member. sad to say, matt and i have shared this role of least happy member - back and forth - over the past few years. between saying yes to every opportunity to make a dollar and growing four businesses at once with the hope of one of them taking root, we were exhausted and worried while we waited to see the outcome - to find out what was waiting on the other end and hoping that it was something good.
we just might be there. we just might be putting all the pieces back together.
on the fourth of july we decided to skip the big fireworks picnic downtown and opt for the nearby park instead. with great friends - local and from afar - we layed out picnic blankets and brought cozy warm blankets too since the night was cold and windy for july. kids in their jammies, a jar of cookies being passed around, wine being poured into plastic cups, we all hunkered down for the fireworks.
biplanes and small touring planes circled their constant hum overhead. waiting, like us, for the sky's celebration to begin. the wind blew harder, we huddled closer together and we piled together under blankets with hoodies tightly cinched under our chins.
just as the first test explosions went off - a white sparkling sunflower in the sky - the full moon began to rise over the foothills just beneath the fireworks. our vantage point was exquisite. had we chosen the downtown viewing place that everyone prefers, we would have missed it. instead, we all sat together feeling blessed and gifted by the view in front of us.
known as the valley of the moon, sonoma is a regal bowl of lunar nectar. the moon favors us here i think and so did the native people before us. the full moon is more magical here than many places i've lived. there have only been a handful of times in my life when i've seen the moon elsewhere compete with sonoma's moon. sure enough - on fourth of july - the moon rose, fat and yellow, directly under the fireworks. for an hour, as the moon rose, the fireworks glittered and rained and sparkled over the glowing, milky ball in the sky.
my dad was with us and he said the next time this happens you will be 69. (he calculates these things you know.) and the magic of the moment was then also nostalgic. 69. hopefully i am a grandmother by then. hopefully i am still alive by then! but the hair on my arms tingled and my family was piled up in a heap around me and the moon was being rained on by fireworks and this tiny bubble of hope was rising up from belly and saying that everything is going to be okay.