Monday, October 12, 2015

Winter gear T-rex

A moment around dinner where we are scattered but I sit at the dining room table with my son to slow down for a few moments. Our nephew who is currently a high school exchange student in Spain has a friend in his hometown in Southern Oregon who committed suicide a few days ago.  Our nephew's mother, my sister-in-law, wrote some thoughts down about what it's been like to live in the wake of this tragedy.  It was beautifully said.  Hold each other close and show kindness everywhere you go.

So my act of kindness was in my own house, with my own child, the one who has been experiencing bouts since school started of pushing our buttons making it difficult to like him.  In spurts, like a wind-up toy that eventually powers back down.  Or something.

I let my son direct the conversation.  It was focused around his questions about scientific discoveries and the workings of the human body.  Questions like how do we think something and then our body acts it out?  Have scientists figured out how to make things invisible yet?  Are there parts of the world that haven't been discovered?  What living things have gone from the surface of the ocean to the bottom and back still alive?

It's good that humans weren't around during the time of the dinosaurs.  Questions about how the dinosaurs went extinct.  The asteroid that hit the planet, sending it into an ice age.  Mom, was it snow or ice?

Well, if skis has been invented, the dinosaurs probably could have survived.

Cue to many wonderful mental images.  So many.  Dinosaurs in winter gear.

My husband and daughter still weren't back, and I felt in my body a slowing down, what had started out as a purposeful engagment with my child within fifteen minutes was altering my natural weekday go-go-go-do-clean-hurry-so-at-9pm-i-can-sit-quietly-in-clean-order routine.

We pulled the bikes out of the garage.  My tires were flat, so while my son ran to get the pump, I tried to ride my bike anyway.  Upon attempting to turn around in the intersection by ouur house, the tires gave out and  my bike toppled over with me on it, skinning my left knee.  Checked to make sure no one saw.  Got back up.  My son happily pumped air into the tires while I talked to a passing neighbor about how my kids already have National Geographic magazine for kids and which neighbor kid might like it instead.

My husband and daughter got home, but I promised the ride so we went until the street lights were coming on.  My son was shoeless and helmet-less.  He trailed behind me close to the curb like I asked him to.  He told me how much he likes riding bikes.  His bike is too big, so to stop, he has to lean into grassy spots.  There wasn't much stopping like usual to pet friendly cats or look at Halloween decorations.

I found a low wall and high curb and stopped.  He sat on my lap, a few blocks from our house.  I apologized for my frequent impatience.  He always says it's okay, but it's not.  I told him that I don't want his childhood memories of me to be of a yelling, impatient mother.  He said, "okay" and I said, "Well, it's not that easy."  I have my own memories, not all the time, but in certain busy and dutiful years, of a mother often walking from room to room doing tasks, rarely sitting down with me for open-ended time.  I trailed behind, talking at her back.  A perfectly clean house is not worth giving my kids that memory of me.  I want their memories to be of my face, and I know they won't remember the resulting disorder of our surroundings, a result of being present and in-the-moment with my kids.

Lofty goals probably, but at certain moments, my chest is filled with terror that something bad might happen to one of my kids, and I tell myself that today is what we have.  

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