Sunday, February 2, 2014

"There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep."

I am definitely the worst blogger ever, and while people who read it might not care, I ache to think my children will grow up thinking that 2013 barely existed in their lives.  That couldn't be further from the truth.

I could scramble to catch up the timeline.  Tell Simone about the day I read the tickets wrong on the Nutcracker Tea Party.  How we showed up a day late, and my soul broke into a million pieces when I realized I had to tell her (after she'd swept the kitchen for weeks to pay for half her ticket), that I made a mistake too large for words.  And how she cried for less than a minute -- rolling, soulful, cleansing tears. And then said, "Maybe we could go home and have a Nutcracker tea party with the boys?"  By the time we'd walked back to the car, she'd already planned for Steve to dress up like a bear. 

And how I knew in that moment, walking back to the car, that this little girl was going to be okay in the world.  That even my flighty, fragmented mothering -- the mothering that loves and cherishes them every second of every day, but misses crucial and gaping swaths of details -- wasn't going to crush her spirit. 

And yes, I paid her back for her half of the ticket.

There are so many other moments.  They were pulled into our fabrics, but I didn't write them down. When your memory is a trail of words and stories, like mine, that feels unsettling. I quit my job so I'd have more time to savor things.  Remember moments, even if I'm not writing them down.  

This weekend, I am alone with the kids in DC.  Steve is still in his busy season, so he's working 7 days a week.  Hillwood had their La Chandeleur festival, and crêpes are an important part of our family's identity.  The Chinese New Year parade is in DC Chinatown tomorrow, too, and Andrew loves anything from China.  
I fell asleep at 7pm tonight.  I thought I was being responsible and mature, fighting my instincts to stay up too late. But I confused my body and it thought I took a nap. So I've been up since midnight, doing my grad school reading assignments and staring at sleeping children. Tiny little human beings are scattered around my hotel room.  I think I needed this mode of motherhood: quiet, sleeping people. No one asking for food. No one running through the house with muddy boots. Just miraculous tinyness, stirring in their sleep. 

Like Andrew tonight, sitting up in his sleep to say: "I love you so much, Mommy." Then falling back asleep.  

Simone rolling over and saying, "Will you print out pictures of me and save them for when I'm big? Like your dad did for you?"  

And Jack. Omigod, Jack.  His sleeping features looking so grown up, but also reminding me so much of his sleeping baby self.  He still curls his hand under his face like he did as a newborn.

Tomorrow, we will get up and eat waffles at the hotel breakfast.  Explore some museums. Go to a parade and see Chinese dragons.  Ride a few metros. And then drive home.  Maybe they'll remember this weekend, maybe they won't.  But I'm grateful to have these moments with them. 

Whether written or not, I like how these moments pile up in our lives together.  My kids talk in legends about things we did ("Remember that time we saw the bear in Yellowstone?"...) and I never know what what will crop up.  Maybe someday, it will be driving to DC to eat crêpes and see Chinese dragons. Or maybe they'll still be discussing when Jack and Andrew both puked, within seconds of each other, when we looked at Christmas lights.  Or when I got frustrated and threw a silk bathrobe on the floor. They love that one.  Family histories are patchwork quilts of nonsense sometimes.  Chaos and crêpes and muddy boots and Metro rides and puke.

It's hard to put all that into words, which might be why I haven't written in 3 months.