In the morning, we pile pillows for wrestling. No biting, that’s the rule.
(One participant is decidedly less compliant than the other.)
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas
The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman
The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen by Lisa Gungor
Tender Hooks by Beth Ann Fennelly
Bee has been fully immersed in theater camp this week, a two-hour window daily where she’s twirling to Caps for Sale while Scout and I take up downtown adventuring. We stroll through fountains, dig rocks out of our sandals, wipe grass from our knees. I dive into a coffee shop for cascara, sip it while watching birds.
Fun, Scout says yesterday after a leap from the sidewalk bench.
You’re having fun? I ask.
Mama having fun, he says.
He is right.
A busy summer has meant for us what it likely means for many: full hearts, messy homes. Swim fins in the dining room, power tools on the kitchen counter, deflated birthday balloons in the entryway.
Next week, then: Loechner Family Boot Camp. We’re tightening the reins, getting back into our groove. Beds made. Rooms tidied. Unfinished projects tackled. Routines returned to.
I’m giddy. (Everyone else less so.)
The sunflowers are droopy. We’re happy and tired. Summer has been good to us, the road trips and waffle cones and tire swings. Park walks and street festivals, sidewalk chalk on the soles of our feet. Purple finches on the back deck, cucumbers from the neighbor’s garden.
But this morning, there was a crisp in the air and I felt dizzy for fall. That slower rhythm, its’ focused gaze. I’m ready, I think.
A few nights ago, I took a book and myself out to dinner. Ken had been out of town, had shooed me away for some quiet while he wrangled the kids into pajamas and sleep. I went where I always go, to the corner bistro with the awning so I could listen to the rain.
I listened, instead, to two couples disagreeing over possessions, over what to keep and what to give away when they downsize.
The paintings, Harry, is what one woman said, and my ears perked.
But they’re flat! They take up no space at all! is what another woman said.
But what I liked best was the man with the cane, who lowered his fork and said this: Untrue. Art always takes up space.