I don’t even want to go back and look at the date on my last post: I know it was a long time ago. Too long. I know it’s been too long because every time I sit at the computer lately, to write, I have so many observations and events and little life experiences that I want to write about that I can’t even get out of my own way to start. It’s like I have this handful of seeds, carefully balanced – for now – but quickly piling high. And every day I add more seeds, more observations, to the pile; working really hard to place them just so, because the smallest misplacement and the pile would come spilling out all over the floor – the little seeds bouncing off the hardwood, rolling under the couch and getting stuck in the sisal rug fibers, forever lost. Still, I continue to collect and neatly stack them.
But I have such good intentions: I want to write about life with the kids, about those everyday occurrences that you can’t imagine forgetting until a couple of weeks go by and your son doesn’t do “that thing” anymore and then you can’t really remember what it was you wanted to remember. I want to be sure to record things like how whenever we get in the car and Tim starts the music Oliver says “Shhh. Ah-iss,” with such concern over the music being too loud for Alice, and about how amazing it is to watch a different child’s language develop and how drastically life changing it is when your child can identify, and say, “me.” I don’t want to forget the fact that Oliver knows the Starbucks logo as the place where he gets chocolate milk or the fact that he points out, every single day as we drive past the farm’s field on the way home from school, a pile of hay covered in white plastic and says excitedly “ICE!”. I want to remember that “ha ha” means either drums (or cadets, depending on the context) and that he’s fascinated by marching bands and way into trains and lawn mowers and construction equipment and that he already has an incredible sense of humor.
I want write about how Alice wakes happy every morning and how she’ll occasionally stop nursing to just look up at me and smile. I want to try to describe the feeling of not being able to hug her tightly enough and about how it feels like she’s skipping over being a baby and going right to being not a baby. I want to stop the world and watch her – to deeply inhale the memories and emotions and experiences of her – the baby. But I keep seeing time slip away and have visions of her, Oliver’s age, running behind the other two; the three of them forming our own little histogram.
I want to write about – or better yet actually record – the elaborate stories that Eleanor creates as she “reads” through the book of horses that my mom bought for Tim as a joke gift years ago and how she appropriately uses language – words and phrases – that make her seem more like 14 (or even 34) than 4. I want to remember that she regularly can’t find anything that she wants to wear and that she’ll occasionally tell me that she wishes she had what I was wearing (because I’m sure some day that will not be the case). I want to write about the debate I have with myself over enrolling her in things, like soccer or ballet or swimming, on the one hand holding the feelings that she would enjoy the peer interaction and opportunity that such activities would afford and on the other hand holding the knowledge that there is plenty of time for that.
In the pile is a seed identifying my recent awareness that I have to take time in the afternoon to cook, because if I don’t I am not a happy person. There’s another about the foods and recipes that our family has been enjoying since we went wheat-free, and another about going wheat-free after learning of Tim’s (wheat) allergy and of suspecting one for Eleanor. There are entire plants in those ideas, if only I would nurture them.
There is a whole section of seeds in the pile about our recent trip to Maine. I want to write about how Tim and I both continue to work through the death of Tim’s dear friend. Just this morning, the whole family gathered around the breakfast table, Tim’s far-away stare was because he was thinking of Dan. I want to write about how his death changed not only Tim’s relationships with his other college friends, but my own as well and about how spending time with them [my college friends] and their families suddenly became a question of “when can we?” not “should we?” I want to write about the grief I felt, particularly as a mother, and about how so many other tragedies and stories of hurt and loss became even less manageable – even unbearable – since I became a mom. (The most recent example of this was listening to the author of this book onFresh Air not 10 minutes ago.)
Tim’s job, my search for meaningful work, our decision not to go home, again, for Thanksgiving or Christmas, how wonderful our marriage has been lately, the fact that yesterday I had a bit of an anxiety attack about our finances and hours later was called by the NY Times Magazine about a research paper I published a few years back….seed after seed after seed.
I also realize that this pile is a beautiful thing. This pile is a pile of memories, of experiences that I was blessed to have, and I don’t want it to stop growing. I don’t want to stop experiencing, I just want to find a better way to hold them, to nurture the seeds until I’m ready to give them more attention. So I’ll go look for a shoebox or empty mason jar for my collection and maybe one day you’ll remind me to sample from the pile – to plant the seed and see what comes up.