Monday, March 21, 2011
The moments I will miss the most when my babies are grown are the moments that right now inspire the most exasperation.
Like grocery shopping. These days it's a headache - three asky boys hanging off the cart at various angles, me trying to navigate cramped aisles, focus on my list, and avoid running over other children, all while fielding a barrage of questions: "No, we may not get three different kinds of ice cream and no, we are not going to get a bunch of balloons, and really do you think I'm going to say yes to Coke?”
And bedtimes. I love snuggling in the big bed and reading stories and listening while their breathing slowly dials down to low, but not every. single. night. Sometimes I want to drink a second (or third) glass of wine and watch chirpy British crime shows.
And tubbies. How many tubbies have I expedited over the past nine years? Washing boys' heads can be exhausting if you do it night after night after night. But I know that someday I'll be brushing my teeth or washing my hands at that usual time in the evening when the sky outside turns pink and I'll miss the splashing, the gleaming little bodies, the sense of everyone safe in the house. This picture of B is already ancient - he was a baby then. Already he is a huge boy with opinions on bath toys and water temperature. Already my children need me less and this is both liberating and terrifying, like I'm losing my usual excuse for lack of success in other areas. Like gainful employment. But for now I bring my wine and a book and settle on the bathmat while B plays pirate, submarine, fireman, and sharks vs. fish. When he splashes, I scowl. And then we laugh together and he splashes some more.
This week I had one of those days that felt like forever. I was at the Library from sun up till way past sun down (or so it seemed). All throughout the day people kept coming in and remarking on the weather, they just couldn’t get over how warm it was. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to step outside until darkness had already fallen. When I got home I remembered that the moon was going to be very large and beautiful that evening. I got out my camera and waited. It seemed like the clouds kept getting in the way, or my hands kept shaking, or cars were whizzing by without fully understanding how close they were to me. After awhile I went inside, surprised at how the cold had given me an extra surge of energy, an unexpected gift. Putting my camera away and returning my bags of knitting and books to their rightful place, I felt all of my enthusiasm drain away. I decided that a bath would be the perfect remedy to the situation.
As the tub filled and I began to anticipate the warmth of the water washing over me, I noticed this other moon smiling down at me. This is the image that adorns the package of tub tea given to me years ago by a very dear friend. The original contents are long gone, but the smile remains; presiding over the towels, soap and assorted bathroom accessories. I often receive special soaps, bath bubbles and beads as stocking stuffers and presents for Christmas. Truth be told I often give these gifts as well, wishing others a quiet moment free from stress and other family demands. Somehow Christmas itself is always full of pressure and stress and the need to do more, more, more. Amidst all of the chaos I try to step outside it all and watch some of my favorite films, made all the more special because we only watch them once a year. Conjuring up images from “It’s A Wonderful Life,” I am reminded of the scene in which George and Mary, walking home from an impromptu bath in the pool at the school, are dancing by the light of the moon. I sometimes wish I lived in a black and white world or at least a simpler time with claw footed tubs, and fluffy towels taken straight from the dryer and wrapped tightly round you. Whether it’s watching an old film or soaking in a hot tub, I wish you five (or more) minutes peace this week.