Photo: An artistic vision is forming. There have been mistakes, but there have also been triumphs. I’m only in the first stitches of this “proof of concept,” but I’m very pleased so far. The wing looks great, but it’s also blessedly covered. The other wings aren’t, so there will be less forgiveness. At least I know I can create the depth I am looking for. More next week. 🙂
My life every morning this week:
“Gentlemen, it’s 27 degrees outside and it’s only going to get up to 41 today. Please make sure you have your coats.”
“Actually, that’s not even that cold. It’s not cold at all! I get hot at recess!”
My life every afternoon this week:
“Little boys, the reason why some of your favorite things don’t work is because you drop them and otherwise don’t take care of them.”
“Actually, we didn’t even drop this one. This one is just broken. It just broke.”
My life every evening this week:
“I haven’t had a chance to bake. I’ll get to it over the weekend. You can choose [alternative 1] or [alternative 2] as a quick treat, or just wait.”
“Well, but we want [nonoption 3] or [nonoption 4]. Can’t we just have that?”
“No. You can have [alternative 1] or [alternative 2]. What’s it gonna be?”
“Well, we just want [nonoption 3]. You never give us that.”
I am exhausted.
I know I’m not the only woman who has to negotiate with her children all day. I know I’m not the only mother of boys who is getting mansplained to by her own children who haven’t been on the planet for a whole damn decade yet. I know that these negotiation skills are a sign of intelligence and engagement.
I am exhausted.
That’s probably why I had a full-blown Southern Mama moment earlier this week when the negotiations over the evening sweets went two lines too long, and I growled, with the full ferocity of my grandmothers and mother before, the following: “Lemme tell you somethin’, child…” and then got all up into a parenting tirade. All of the classics: lucky to have sweets available to begin with. Perfectly good offer given. Sometimes you need to just take what’s offered. Ain’t nobody got time to negotiate with you over every single little minutiae . Don’t know what you think this is. Don’t know who you think you are.
It’s not that this is unexpected behavior. The boys are supposed to outgrow me. My word isn’t supposed to be absolute law in their ears forever. I confess that I thought I’d get this level of talking back a little further down the line. I thought we had comfortably entered the “sweet and awesome” stage of childhood before the angry, stinky inevitability of puberty and adolescence. The hilarious thing is that all of this talk-back does come with a sweetness. There is no attitude or nastiness at all. It’s the matter-of-factness of it that drives me bonkers. They know they are right just as they know I am wrong. The “actually” comes from the same place of stubborn, anchored knowingness that I use when I start a sentence with “actually” in my own adult life. In that, I find… I don’t know. Something that makes me want to giggle instead of growl and wag my finger.
I’m not sure where my Quiet Thoughts are. I think they are on the idea that all of the things I want for my boys are there, baked in, but unhoned and unpolished. They have will and determination, intelligence, good humor, a moral compass, a strong sense of self worth… but they have no grace, no polish, no give for the take. That’s appropriate, of course. They are children, after all. The clay needs molding. The fleece must be spun and dyed. All of those things need patience and craft. So does parenting. It’s a moment of reminding: my boys have so much in them. My job is to bring it out through careful, patient, graceful instruction. Lord help us all. Me, especially. 🙂
There is a gray sky above, yellow grass below, and naked trees between. The thermometer says 42 degrees, but the skin says chillier, especially when the air moves. But there is hopeful signs for the vigilant observer: buds on the trees, new trills of song in the breeze, new-green sprouts underfoot or in protective boxes. My personal Facebook feed has been filled with photos from Camden Yards opening day in Baltimore and Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC. This is the first year the photos didn’t reduce me to tears. I hope Spring gets here soon. A change in color would do us all some good.
Fridays are a time to pivot or rally or party or shake it off. Friday nights are a time to dance without care or sing the blues or drink until numb or scream with elation. Longtime readers know that I deeply believe in the Muse. I think that the Muse is real and sacred. I wish you the opportunity to tap into and follow the whim of your Muse tonight. If it’s safe (for real, be safe. Don’t sue me for your unsafe behavior), feed your Muse and follow the whim just once this weekend. I hope there is an act of creation or a revelation or deep connection made for your this weekend. I wish you something tangible accomplished this weekend: that room cleaned, that flowerbox built, those seeds planted, that laundry done. Put your back and your hands into something this weekend, Dear Reader. Take a before and an after photo. Proclaim to the world that you completed a thing and you are proud of it. I wish you one brave act this weekend: a call you need to make, a new place visited, important words said, an application sent in. Put yourself out there just once this weekend, Dear Reader. The result may be rejection, but remember, we must choose to think big anyway. I wish you one good meal and very good company to share it with. If you’re in Massachusetts, I hope you’ll visit my friend’s restaurant in Lincoln. The hanger steak is amazing and so is the clam and fennel chowder. Mariah at the bar is phenomenal. If you’re not in Mass, but you’re looking for a great meal, I found that Pasta e Ceci recipe without the America’s Test Kitchen paywall! Get it, make it, eat it.
I take the time to tell you that you are loved every week because it is true. I also do it because I don’t know how many times you’ve been told this week. I want to make sure you’ve been told at least once. I want to make sure that you know it in your heart of hearts. Actually, I want these words to be written on your heart: you are loved. What you do matters. You are loved near and far, known and unknown, with a profound depth and with incredible thoughtfulness. I want those words written on your heart so that, when it breaks, the words will seep in through the cracks and help it heal. I know for a fact that this works. Sometimes this works when nothing else will.
What does next week hold? Lord if I know. But for now, let us settle into this. A little quiet. A little stillness. A little weekend. Enjoy it, then I’ll see you on Monday.
Until then, take very good care: of yourself and of your neighbor.