This morning my eldest son approached me with a gleam in his eye. Still in bed, I had been awake for a while but felt no rush to get up.
His fair hair, floppish and wild, made him look like a miniature teenager.
Mom, do you know who my favorite girl in the whole world is?
I shook my head no, but suggested, Miss Penny? (his kindergarten teacher)
No! YOU! He pointed at me.
Despite the ache in my head and the congestion setting in and making itself at home in my sinuses, that was a wonderful way to start the day. I got to be a girl, for a few minutes, at least, and to be his favorite girl is something I know won’t last forever.
Yesterday was an off kind of day, as I was in between worlds of work and play, an altogether backyard westward jet laggish sort of day. Unsurprisingly, I developed a sinus infection within 24 hours of arriving home, my nose is sore and red, and I’ve wiped out our tissue supply. I’ve had my fix of the East Coast this month (four trips in four weeks!) and I’d like to linger in one time zone for a while.
Still, I find myself looking forward to the days ahead. We have entered the shortest month of the year, a bridge-like month that promises to lead us out of the darkness and into the grey damp that Portland knows well during the so-called Spring. Even when it’s not raining, drops of water cling desperately to every leaf and flower, daring the sun to make them retreat.
It’s a drab sort of month, but yesterday’s weather was gentle and unassuming with temps into the 50s and sunshine. We ate lunch outside on the deck and the boys surprised me with a new birdfeeder hanging toward the edge of the yard.
One of the things I like best about going to my parents’ home is the excess of feeders and birdhouses that attract cardinals, sparrows and wrens to the property. Despite the lumbering presence of our sweet squirrel-chasing lab, the birds seem to like our backyard, too.
Later that morning I asked my son about a show he was intensely watching on public television. It’s called Travel to the Edge.
Right now he [the narrator] is going to make the iceberg the dominant feature in the frame, he explained.
He’s five and he knows more about landscape photography than I ever will. Pretty great.
The rest of the day has been a blur of household activity and indoor catch up. I made our favorite spinach and artichoke dip and baked premade jalapeno poppers that are required on the day of the Superbowl.
Never mind the football. I teared up listening to the Sandy Hook school choir and told my boys to put their hands on their hearts during Alicia Keys’ rendition of the National Anthem. One listened distantly and the other did a running cartwheel back to his bowl of Pirate Booty and sliced strawberries, making sure his brother hadn’t snatched any. At half time one bopped to Beyoncé while the other asked why the rockers on the stage were all girls.
Now I glance around, tired, congested, but content. Our family is at home, no place to go and nothing to do but rest and play and be. Never mind that being quiet is impossible for the boys, but together we can manage the squabbling and running and wrestling…. and the inevitable tumbling of tears and laughter… in one place, at home and among ourselves.