Then I think: “That’s not writing, that’s typing,” which is what Truman Capote quipped when he heard that Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road using a giant scroll of paper fed through his typewriter.
Being neither Kerouac nor Capote, I think I’m safe.
So type away I will, if you don’t mind.
And if you do…click! It’s the Internet.
A real live ESCAPE button you can press whenever you choose.
It’s naptime for Silas boy. And, so far, it’s a good long one. I am past my 45 minute get-the-house-looking-like-a-home frenzy…so here I sit, my shoulders relax, my thoughts jumble and stretch out and look around and go every which way.
Today has been moody: stormy this morning, humidly grumbling one moment, then a burst of sunshine and 80 degree heat at lunch…and then here again, Mother Nature fumes and turns her back.
It’s a day to write, to bake, to have good truthful talks. A day to curl up like a cat and sleep until you are warm and limp and have to remember hard where you are when you wake up.
Silas wakes up two ways: insta-crying or coos and smiles. It depends, I guess (will I ever have any knows concerning this mothering thing?), on the hunger-factor.
Or maybe he doesn’t remember where he is either. And for him, all eight months out of the womb…does he ever think he’s inside again? Floating freeform and safe?
Yes, I ask myself those questions. Motherhood, this season, this rest-of-my-life creative journey lends itself to so. many. questions: some worrisome, some silly. I get frustrated most often with all of the unanswerable: “what does he want?” “why is he upset?” “does he spend enough time with other people?”
I realize as I type this, the real question behind this running query is simply “what is he thinking?" I’ve never spent this much time with a person who cannot verbally communicate. I mean, come on—I was an English teacher: I preached on the power of words, and here I am spending the whole of my days with only the tiniest flicker of words.
(I think he knows the meaning of both of these. Bust my buttons, I’m proud.)
The other question I can’t answer but just have to feel my way around, bumping into corners, hands out and open grasping for some hint some clue some thread to guide me along is:
Am I doing okay at this?
The inkling of comfort I get is that my son goes to sleep each night warm, full, and happy. And when he wakes he seems to have learned something in his sleep: a new sound, a new way of grabbing an object, a new expression.
And we get there, to that crib moment, day after day, week after week.
And now we are four months facing an entire year.
We’re barreling into walking (he crawled three weeks ago: first a Sahara-parched drag with one elbow doing all the work, then a mud-run Army crawl, and now his knees pump and his little bent arms pound and he’s EVERYWHERE.), talking, and being.
I’m gonna know what he’s thinking before I may be ready.
But oh, I can’t wait to hear what he has to say. To follow him around as he explores, and messes, and discovers this world of ours.
I get to be a child again, I get to be this new person, this mother, this guide, this learner, and giver and comforter.
Did someone get you down, waste your flavor, give you the dis?
Do you have mounds of grading to get through?
Are you hormonal?
Did you keep waking up all night?
Are you homesick even though you are actually home?
If you answered yes to any or (bless your heart) all of these, it’s time to eat.*
Last night, after a day of cold rain and too many tests to grade and lesson plans to make, Mr. Ables requested the following recipe:
You will need:
peanut butter (if you’re a True Ables, “it better be Jif” as Mr. Ables admonished)
marshmallows (the preferred size is mini, but feel free to improvise)
toaster oven (again, all True Ables toast using a toaster oven)
Preheat the toaster oven to 350. Spread peanut butter on a few saltines. Delicately place marshmallows on top of each peanut butter cracker. Place in toaster oven (on a pan) until the mallow is golden and goopy.
Serve with ice cold milk (if you are an Ables, you are a Milk Drinker).
He asked for two; I made him four. He ate them all.
*Note: emotional eating is bad, we know this thanks to Dr. Oz, Oprah, and our too-tight jeans (genes?). Forget that for a moment…because we also know deep deep down in our gut (where else?) that food can also heal and bind us to one another.
"aw…is this her first Easter?"
—a woman from my former church outside the sanctuary….who a) did not remember me and b) failed to note the all-blue outfit on my boy.
STILL…it was a beautiful day of thanksgiving and family and celebration.
“It’s my own face that obscures the face of God. How can I help this son of mine see when I can’t see? The parent must always self-parent first, self-preach before child-teach, because who can bring peace unless they’ve held their own peace?”—Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
Five years ago, almost to the day, Mr. Ables and I hiked to Lee Falls.
Around that time, there’d been some big talk about getting engaged. He’d been back from teaching English in Prague for about four months (the whole “when you know, you know” thing was true for us), and I guess I thought the time was at hand. A hike to a waterfall on a beautiful spring day? Sounded proposal-worthy to me.
This made the walk to the falls, for me, a blur of nerves. I kept thinking that on the hike back, I’d be just a bit different than the person I was at the moment and how do you fake that level of surprise and I hope I wasn’t too sweaty: big stuff like that.
At the base of the falls, Mr. Ables took some pictures of me (before the ring shots?), and then quietly rummaged around in his backpack. He turned to me, looked deeply into my eyes with his hand extended:
"Do you want to split this granola bar with me?"
Relief flooded my entire being. We were just on a hike not on The Hike.
He proposed the next week on a park bench, catching me completely and totally by surprise.
But, this weekend:
we hiked to Lee Falls again.
It was lovely.
I love my family, I love the woods. I love this season and This Season.
As per usual on our outdoor jaunts, I thought every twisted root was a snake about to strike and I fell a few times. A new anxiety were ticks, which a few guys were nice enough to warn us about at the trailhead (“I’ve picked off like 15!” then proceeds to pick off another one)—I was a twitchy mess of Momxiety, but hike we did.
I don’t have the right words, I guess, because it wasn’t “a hike,” it was more of an immersion in color and light and spring and…all of this: