I’ve been toting around a notebook daily, minutely. At home, it sits next to swollen oranges and a few bruised apples. Otherwise, my coat pocket.
Yesterday, Bee asks me if I write lists so I don’t forget things at the grocery store, and I tell her yes, but also so I don’t forget the grocery store. She smiles knowingly, runs off to save an orphaned koala from the living room sofa.
Scout is teething, inconsolable. There will be banshee screaming, throwing of himself to the floor, flailing of the limbs, tear-stained, thrashing, reddening cheeks, kicking, rolling in agony, desperate requests from us all – Do you want cold water? Your teether? How about a ball? The wailing rises with each suggestion until his pain crests and finally, ultimately, it is over. He offers a quiet hiccup. Gathers himself, rises onto half-socked feet, a grown man off to start the day.
Boys, Bee shakes her head, a mouthful of potatoes.
Early this week, an older woman asks me when I plan to write my next book, and I tell her I’m still learning the lessons in the first one. To move on would be too easy, I think, like when you abandon the tangled knot of your monogram necklace and bear a bracelet instead.
I understand more than you know, she said, and I believed her.
And so: the glorious mundane, for now. Dying play scarves in the washing machine, friends coming to your kitchen to season your molcajete. Neighborhood walks, racing rubber ducks down the flooding creek. A cut on the hand from jagged rocks, something to remember it all by.
A thought: while few of us possess a cogent proof of God’s existence, what sways me often in that direction is a child’s innate desire to own, to love, to care for animals. In Genesis alone: Let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
A short list of rulings from my own under-6 crowd:
-Words of caution to an ant trio nearing the heater vent.
-Saved bread heels for someday ducks.
-A question: “Do you think the bird feeder is comfortable enough? Should we leave out a pillow, some water?”
-Daily, the scattering of fish flakes into a translucent rectangle.
Further evidence: I have yet to meet a child who has not once wanted to be a veterinarian in a white coat.
And that’s just it, I suppose. Our broken world, our charmed lives. Caring for each other, caring for every creeping thing that creeps on earth.
Today’s philosophy to remember, for marriage and anything else:
“Life is sad. Here is someone.” -Lorrie Moore