Friday, July 31, 2009

Summertime and the living is easy (snapshots)

School's in -- around here, we start early, and his school starts earlier than most -- and I was afraid we'd squandered our vacation time. It flew by, and now it's back to work. Back to reality. Now we'll have even less time together. I was sad.

I was stupid. He thrives in school, as always. I'm almost eking out a routine that will actually produce some stuff. I'm getting stuff done around the house, and when I pick him up, we make sure to treasure our hours together. We're all getting into a routine, and it's far from drudgery. It's comforting.

Continuing another routine (hey, three times is good for me), here are the snapshots. His pictures, my words.

**He set up a notepad on the shelf of our backyard grill and took notes on everything: me ("Mom seems to enjoy taking pictures of the storm"), my husband ("Seems to have trouble telling boys from girls") (not what it sounds like), the cat ("Likes to smoosh his paw against the window and purr"), the birds ("Like to fly crazy in the clouds").**

**He wrote other stuff, but he said the rest is secret. He hunched over the tiny blue notepad, pencil scratching. The sun sank, casting bright platinum and gold strings, tracing his chin and upper lip, each fine hair along his arm, and the pencil in a glowing ribbon.**

**As I tried (in vain) to get work done in the afternoon, I heard "Hey. Hey! What's that spilling all over the coffee table?!" followed by the sound of pounding feet, frantic towel-fetching, and "Sorry! I'll get the carpet too. Sorry!" I drowned it out with the sound of fingers on keyboard.**

**A black cloud of some bird or other (we said doves, but they were so wild, so primal), now rippling along its ranks and now morphing and globbing like a giant amoeba, slowly made its erratic progress across a heavy slate gray sky. The three of us stood watching from our driveway as a fierce wind hurled dust and leaves into our eyes.**

**I dropped him off at school this morning, and instead of lining up he dawdled in a patch of tall grass. "I don't know what he's doing," I said, half-irritably, to no one in particular. "They're looking at spiderwebs in the grass," a neighboring mom told me. "Oh!" I replied. "Well that's fine then!" She looked at me as if I had said it was fine for them to poop in the hallways. My son glanced over, smiled, waved, and raced to line up.**

**After the spill in the living room, I continued to tune out my family as I heard the commencement of a raucous game of living room ball (the object of which appears to be to kick a ball about the living room until the cat is traumatized or something gets broken). My husband kicked the ball, which bounced off my son. "You hit me in the ASS!" he said. "Your what?" "My ass!" He replied, pointing, my husband later told me, to the front of himself. Discussion ensued. Some minutes later: "David! No one has one giant booby!" I snickered, gave it up and joined them.**

**I came in from working in the yard for an hour, dizzy and radiating heat. He ran to hug me. "You smell like the sun," he told me. "Thanks a lot," I said. Are you saying I smell sweaty?" He shook his head. "Nope. Just like the sun. It's beautiful."**

**He whined, groused, and dug in his heels about homework. Even counting to three in a threatening tone didn't work. "Fine," I said. "You can be grouchy alone."**

**Pink sunrise light streamed through his bedroom window. We moved getting-up time back ten minutes, and played with action figures on his bed.**

**Fifteen minutes after the homework confrontation, he crept into the office, walked silently up to me and kissed my cheek. "I'm sorry I was a grouch," he said. All his homework was done.**

**He brought me a curled brown leaf, probably left over from months ago and dislodged during yard clearing. It was wholly unremarkable. "Here," he said. "This one is special." I took it. I still have it.**


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