The other day my sweet six-year-old informed me that I don’t need to help him with anything ever again.
I don’t need helping pouring drinks into a glass. I don’t need help climbing over a fence. I don’t help with ANYTHING, Mom.
Well, that’s a clear message.
He had just spent an hour on roller skates for the first time. At first I tried to help by providing an arm to balance on and detailed instruction. It didn’t help. At all. He spent more time wiping out than upright. He became more and more frustrated and glared at me.
Is this kid six or sixteen?
But with a few encouraging words from others on the rink and darn six-year-old determination, within the hour he was skating. Kind of. More like rocking forward on skates, balancing, tipping to the left only to barely make it back up, to scoot forward again. All the while I’m lurking, cringing, waiting for the fall.
I’ve spent the past few years waiting for the fall. I’ve been laid off (twice!) due to economic catastrophe in the small nonprofit for which I worked diligently for two years, and a City employer for close to another two. Fire the Police or Fire? Fire nonessential employees? You got it. Lose a critical grant (or three?) and fire the director?
Since then, I’ve been contracting part-time and juggling family life full-time. It’s been good. But it’s a dance that requires flex, grace, and muscle, and sometimes one of those qualities fails to appear.
This is a picture of our kitchen.
Ugly, huh? It wasn’t all bad. Beneath an old, pretty picture window lay a deep country sink. The linoleum on the floor is three floors deep; you have to step down into the dining room. The dishwasher… um… nonexistent. Oops, I was supposed to be talking about the good stuff.
The original tile counter was destroyed in a few hours, but we saved this unusual piece [circa 1942].
I call it unusual because it was the only piece of tile on the counter with fruit. The rest was plain cobalt blue and peach. I wonder about how it got there, and why.
While I wonder, my thoughts turn to my boys and our morning. It began with us waiting for the “worker guy” to show up with tool bag, ladder, nifty and dangerous saws and hammers, and an ambivalent gaze. He was kind to my overly enthusiastic youngest, but 100% business. I quickly got us all out the way and made an effort to mean business when I told the boys to stay out of the kitchen.
But… power tools? Tool belt? Sledge hammer?
It was catnip to a kitten. Two kittens, in fact. Talk about waiting for the fall.
We got the hell outta Dodge.
At the park they ran quite literally circles around trees. Stomachs grumbling, we unpacked snacks and drinks. I didn’t want to go home. Impulsively, I made the decision to go to a matinee. Monsters University is playing. My youngest had never been to the movie theatre.
Except for the Door Incident***, the movie adventure went remarkably well. The movie was fun and for $20 we had the place to ourselves. I guess Monday mid-day movies aren’t that popular in these parts. My youngest got restless during the final third of the movie, but because no one was there but us he happily walked around and perched on the side steps to watch the film. My eldest was spellbound, but no more so than during the previews when “The Lego Movie” trailer was played. I was actually almost as excited as he was.
*** to be described in another post
At the end of the day we found ourselves, as usual, a bit tired, cranky and happy in three equal parts. Pizza for dinner. One final jump into a plastic pool in the backyard. Baths. Stories. Bed.
And. There I was. Here I am.
Not collapsed. Not exhausted. Ok after all.
And here I was waiting for the fall.
I’m not waiting anymore.