Photo: I confess that I didn’t take a lot of photos this week. So this is from the garden shots I took last Friday. I am still delightfully fascinated by the pumpkin vines that are slowly taking over the yard. The vine has produced a lot of flowers and those flowers have produced these little bebe pum’kins, but we still only seem to have two real pumpkins. I can’t tell if it’s because we had a lack of pollinators this year (I do this this was a problem) or if the plant is just inefficient with its energy use and production?
I survived the week. We survived the week. It was a week that went on and on… but I am sitting here on Friday at 9, the boys in bed, a beer at my side, Miles Davis playing in the background. I survived the week. We survived the week.
Motherhood is marked with weeks like this. Minutes slow down to eons. Syllables go from high-pitched whines to low, guttural, contemptuous growls. Coffee seems to lose its ability to rally the tired. Television and other vices seem to numb, but not soothe.
At one point this week, I broke out all my degrees in a soliloquy for the ages, explaining to my boys that this house isn’t a democracy, it isn’t even an oligarchy, but an absolute dictatorship run by me. They were not the rulers of the house by any remote stretch of the imagination. Any and all power within these four walls belonged to me. “But what about Daddy?” “Even Daddy lives under my tutelage!”
…. it’s not untrue per se… just rarely articulated in such fashion. The boys were only subdued for a short amount of time after my meltdown before going back to their wrestling, throwing, whining, demanding, back-talking and otherwise driving me crazy.
I’m pretty sure that was Tuesday.
Pretty sure we were on a path to not makin’ it.
But for weeks like this, good friends really come in handy. There are friends who read between the lines, reach out a hand, and offer sincere relief with good conversation, a change of scenery, a babysitter, and the opportunity to slip back into humanity. Two such friends did that for me this week.
I had no idea how much I needed some Bible study and fellowship until my friend invited me to join her yesterday morning to come by her church and participate. I haven’t been in Bible study since June and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the intellectual rigor, the sisterhood and fellowship, and the warmth of being in the presence of others who carry the same spirit in their hearts. I dropped off the boys with my friend’s amazingly kind teenage son and went off to her immaculate church. After that lovely kid-free time, we all went to her club, which has a lovely pool, where we enjoyed tacos and burgers, diving boards and torpedo toys, and more happy conversation. The day flew by, the time passing unnoticed until obligations literally made a call and asked for us to return to our duties.
Blessed are the friends who not only reach out a hand in offer of relief, but literally give a chance to spend a day in a completely different sort of life. A vacation for a day, not far from home. And blessed are the friends who let you drop-in and meet the people in their everyday world. Here in New England, it seems like people keep their circles separate, but equal. Blessed are the people who make venn diagrams with the people in their lives.
Today, I sat on a park bench with knitting needles in hand and chatted for hours while knitted full inches of my scarf project while the boys entertained themselves at a new park we’ve never been to. Enjoying the sun and passing puffing clouds, the breezy dry air, the laughter of children, we bounced from topic to topic amid giggles and sips of Starbucks. A few little girls watched us with fascination, probably wondering what we were doing. A few moms gave us quizzical looks like, where are their kids? Are they just ladies here to chat and knit? I’m sure not a few were jealous: we were just as care-free as the kiddos and I left the bench just once to lay eyes on my kiddos.
Blessed are the friends who share ideas, are quick to laugh, and want nothing more than to pass the hours speaking and sharing, learning and teaching.
These are the moments that gave me a little humanity this week. Not just the something to look forward to, but the knowing that I was thought of this week, that I was seen and known. That home is really far away, but family, chosen family, is right here and ready whenever I’m in need. Blessed are the people we get to choose and call by name, wrapping our arms around them and linking our lives with them and saying with sincerity, “you’re family.”
This is what gets you through the weeks like this.
The boys head to school on Tuesday. There is a lot to do between now and then to get this family ready. It starts with shoe shopping and getting clean clothes put away, and making time for an H-Mart run… but on this wonderfully cool evening, all that matters is the moving air, the cricket song, the smooth taste of this beer, and the promise of good sleep to come.
On this Friday night, I wish you open windows and clean, crisp air. Our respite here in Massachusetts will be short-lived, it seems, which is too bad. I’d still rather have this than snow. But still… I’d prefer something a little more comfortable. I wish you time with a friend, with the opportunity to laugh and gossip, to have a little fun, to get into a little trouble, to do something so funny that you both double-over laughing. I wish you the chance to struggle with something: a poem, a quote, an idea, an image. Give your brain a little exercise this weekend, doing it not for an end product (work), but for the fun of it (yes, this can be play). Bonus points if you can make it a field trip and end up at a local museum or a poetry night or a lecture or something. Extra bonus points if you can do it with a good friend and stumble into drinks and fun afterwards. May the thoughts of the struggle linger and echo, spurring your imagination to new ideas after you are done. I wish you food with the rich, deep flavor of tomato and onions and peppers. Garden-fresh would be preferable, of course, but getting it all from your grocery store is fine. Maybe some shakshuka this weekend? Gazpacho? Whatever you choose, do share it with someone you love. I wish you a squeeze of your hand, a kiss on your cheek, and a smile reserved only for you. Can you tell a story with just your eyes and the curvature of your mouth, Dear Reader? Can you, with the slight nod of your head, a swish of your hips, start a conversation? Take up the challenge this weekend and see where it goes.
You woke up this morning beloved. You walked through your day as the subject of someone’s thoughts, the beneficiary of someone’s dreams. You were watched from afar with admiration and respect. Your infinite beauty is radiating right this second, as you read these words. You are loved, Dear Reader. What you do in this world matters. Your very existence is noticed and needed. The light you shine illuminates the way for others. Such power comes with responsibility. So, be swift to love. Make haste to be kind. Speak words that build up. Stand strong in the face of oppression. Choose, whenever you can, to set the example for the others who are watching. Give them permission to perform the good works we all need if we want to make it to the other side of this dark moment in time.
I think I’ll take Monday off, but write a post on Back-to-School Tuesday. Pictures and all. What do you think?
Until Tuesday, Dear Reader, reach out to a friend, tell a good story, laugh from your belly, dance with arms raised to the sky, sing at the top of your lungs, shine brightly, and take care.