Thursday, August 25, 2016

Just Joy | I've listened to preachers, I've listened to fools, I've listened to dropouts who make their own rules


  • Mads and I are both in our pajamas, and he should be winding down for the night, but he's playing that there's a monster in the house and insists on hiding with me in the arm chair under a crochet afghan which we tent out with our arms. I keep the chair rocking with my foot, and he leans into me whispering things like, "I have candy here. The zombie can't eat our candy." The way the afghan filters light makes everything warm and cozy.
  • I am stealing a moment to myself in the kitchen, eating a spoonful of coconut butter, when Mads proudly announces, "Mommy, I pooped!" He carries his poop-filled potty chair from me to his dad, so proudly, so precariously, and I am overwhelmed by surprise and delight and relief.
  • I am at the sink washing breakfast dishes. Wolfman is at the stove throwing together a largely improvised gumbo. Black Sabbath is playing. Our son marches into the kitchen wearing his new mask and cape, and with a flourish of that cape he tells me, "My name is Batman. I'm going to get you, ogre."
  • I am nearly home after a solo morning walk, sweaty, my blistered feet squelching in red clay mud. A neighbor's dog finds me and barks happily then runs to greet me, jumping up and wrapping his paws around me in a hug. It is as though he (or she?) is saying, "Hey, I know you!" though we don't know each other, I've never seen this dog, but perhaps this dog knows no strangers. He (she?) is that kind of guy.
  • I'm scheduled for a 10 hour shift and before that, I have some family-favor driving back-and-forth between Apex and Cary. It is early, and I am already exhausted by this day. But, first, my menfolk and I eat a quick little biscuit breakfast at Bojangles, and it is stupid how content I am, just to be in their company.
  • I am driving alone, and the sky is glorious. I pass the rickety little farm shed I've passed hundreds of times since moving out here to Wolfman's childhood home, but today it is astonishingly picturesque. Whenever I'm in a car, whether the passenger seat or behind the wheel, I see landmarks on the road--abandoned buildings, funny signs--and I wish I had the time to stop and take a pictures. Nothing was stopping me (except a "No Trespassing" sign), so I did just that. Turned around on a gravel road, parked in front of the little shed, took exactly two photos, then jumped back in the car and drove home. 
  • I am with Mads and Ella, and we've successfully chosen and checked out a weighty stack of library books. We've nearly made it back to the car when Mads announces, "I have to pee," and Ella repeats the same sentiment. I drop the books off in the front seat, then march the kids back across the parking lot and back into the library, to the loo. After some shifting of clothes, maneuvering around commodes, and general cheerleading, both kids pee in the toilets (Mads standing up on a foot stool the library smartly keeps at the sink for kids), wash and dry their hands, then stop for a sip at the water fountain on the way out. I feel adult and triumphant for the first time in a while, and the three-year-olds are the ones who did most of the work.
  • Mads, Ella, and I wait in the parked car, with the air conditioning on full blast, headbanging to "Crazy Train," until the song ends.

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