Shrugs

I mopped the living room floor this morning.  When I’m in a bad mood, mopping strikes me as the ultimate act of depressing futility.  It must be mopped, but it will not stay mopped.  Futility doesn’t seem to matter as much in your thirties.  Possibility still exists for floor mopping and surfing in Bali.  Drudgery and glory coexist.  Time feels more precious now, but the floor doesn’t care.  It collects dog hair anyway.  I don’t buy all that crap about leaving the cobwebs because they can wait.  Filth is filth, so I fill the bucket and get on my knees.  I try to convince myself it’s a kind of prayer, an act of attrition, or an offering of love to my family.   Besides, what the hell else would I be doing this morning?  It’s freezing cold and the baby is sleeping, so a walk is out and the great American novel is unlikely to poor from my fingertips. I think, just be.  This act, too, is holy.  For a moment, it’s true.  The newly mopped room, vacuumed and dusted, does have a church-like essence to it.  The patch of sunlight on the jewel-toned Oriental carpet takes on the slant of dim stained glass.

Then the dog flops down in the square of paltry warmth and a mushroom cloud of hair and dander and god only knows what else balloons up from his heaving side and I see the slobber smeared on the wood where his nose hangs over the fringe of the carpet.  I have dog hair in my mouth and all over my pants.  It’s fucking bullshit.

Hampton looks at me all watery-eyed and grateful for the cessation of vacuuming and I don’t know why, but I think of Quinn the other night in the van, driving home from swim team.  It was dead of night dark at 5:45 p.m. thanks to daylight savings.  I’d forgotten snacks.  Xavier screamed in his car seat, wedged between Quinn and Nate, an inconsolable, it’s past time for my bottle and my snuggly jammies scream.  I rifled through the console looking for something to hand him, but there was nothing but Starbucks straw wrappers and grubby pens.  A collective whine of discontent rose from the bigger kids and I murmured “I know, I know, we’ll be home in ten minutes” and turned up the radio a little to ease my own anxiety.

The screams ceased abruptly and I checked the rear view mirror to ensure sleep and not sudden asphyxiation , but the baby was wide awake, watery-eyed and grateful, clutching Quinn’s hand.  He held his hand, my boy who can break through a hockey line like a 60 lb Tonka truck, who shrugs when I tell him no dessert if he doesn’t eat his vegetables and fixes me in his glare, face hard as stone, oh well, I can have dessert at lunch tomorrow.  I hit the off button on the radio to let the sudden silence rinse us all clean of the harried rush of the evening.

“I’m glad Xavier can stay for Christmas,” he whispered.

“Me too.”

“Do you think he’ll stay after that?”

“I don’t know.”

We were quiet all the way home and I won’t lie … it felt a little holy in a life happens even when everything is covered in dog hair kind of way. Drudgery and glory co-existing.

Truth or dare

I walked yesterday with someone I trust more than anyone in this world and she said, “but you’re feeling better? it seems like you’re feeling better.” And I lied. I can’t think of when I’ve ever really lied to her.   I laughed and I said yes, lots, like it wasn’t an issue any more…

Summer Loving

Summer of 2014 We walked down our boulevard under the cathedral canopy of maple trees, the evening sunlight trickling through to the ground in leaf green splashes.   The kids talked all at once, rivaling the murder of ravens squawking a grisly tune above our heads.  Nate from the stroller on my left lisped a story…

Rare Bird

My friend Anna Whiston-Donaldson wrote a book and its release date is tomorrow.  It’s going to be a best-seller.  She doesn’t need me to promote it for her. She’s already been lauded in the Washington Post, received incredible reviews, and so many bloggers love her and want to help spread the word. Anna is authentic,…

Simplicity

The Arby’s forced air felt blessedly cool after two long, hot days at an amusement park and Lake Coeur D’Alene and two long, hot hours in the Suburban being bombarded in the back of the head with shrieks, questions, and complaints.  We spent the previous night in a hotel room with five children and if…

By the numbers

Once a month kind of borders on pathetic.  I am not writing, I’m barely taking pictures, and the days flash by in a crazy haze.  Ten days in Arizona.  Zoo Camp. Swimming. I am writing for Mamalode every other Friday.  In my first piece in June, Ripped, I shared a little bit about what it…

Love letters

Matt found a love letter in a wall of the new house.  It’s dated August 14, 1935, still tucked securely into a stained envelope faded yellow-brown with age.  The purple 3 cent stamp is perfectly preserved.  Carabelle gushes romance and love to Dick: the pretty moonlight over the lake is only missing you. She calls…

Getting there

I watched Nate walk into preschool today, pumping assertively up the front steps because he was so proud of his brand new Sketchers. The lanyard declaring him “dropped off” hung to his knees and his orange hair matched the orange T-rex on his shirt, which matched the bright orange piping on his new shoes.  Something…

But my heart, Anita

Where to begin?  It’s so cold. Our unplowed neighborhood streets are frozen into icy ruts that funnel the van into a lane of traffic like I’m driving one of those amusement park cars unable to veer more than a few inches left or right of the designated track.  I worry about the kids’ fingers freezing…

Two ladies on the internet

The thing I love about blogging is the connections with other women.  Because I write this life journal essayist thing on the internet, I met Ann Imig, who started a national show featuring and celebrating motherhood and I get to be a part of it.  Because I write and enjoy the writings of other women,…