This post is not going to write itself and that’s just the plain hard truth. A massive case of writer’s block, malaise and fall preserving insanity has taken hold and I find it harder and harder each day to find the time or the will to write. I also have so many months to cover that I fear this post will jump from topic to topic with few transitions. I wish that I could carry the computer around and write while we take our post-dinner bike ride around the neighborhood. I remember holding you as a tiny baby on the last warm days of October after we came home from the hospital and seeing the neighborhood kids riding their bikes around and thinking that that would be pretty cool when you could join in. Now many nights after you have taken three bites of your dinner if you don’t like it, or demolished three helpings of mac n’ cheese, you jump onto your little strider bike and we stroll around the neighborhood with the other parents and kids out enjoying these last lingering days of summer even though it is technically autumn. I soak in the sunshine and everything seems right with the world because the only disagreement we usually have is whether we are going to turn left or right and that’s pretty easy to deal with. You love being on your bike and I can see how much you are going to love the freedom of a two wheeler once you learn how to ride a real “big kid bike,” because it is that same thrill of freedom I felt when my parents allowed me to ride my bike more than one block away from our house.
You started preschool at the beginning of September after five long weeks of being home with me. I think you were pretty excited to start just because you were heartily sick of hanging out with me day after day. We went on lots of adventures – hikes, trips to Red Butte Gardens, the pool, your friends’ houses where your friends’ mothers and I would sigh and compare stories of how much our children were driving us nuts and just how many days it was again before school started. And then suddenly, it was the night before school started and I marked the occasion with a cupcake and we sat on the front step and talking about how your new teachers were going to teach you lots of things like how to “dance” and “make art with my hands.”
You have rough days during which you absolutely refuse to nap and “push a lot of boundaries,” according to your teachers, but you have somewhat settled into your school routine and usually love it. I am constantly amazed at how much you are learning. You come home singing a new song every day, but you usually reply to my queries about what you did that day by responding, “Nothing. I just sat there.” Did you play with your friends? “No, I just sat there.” This makes your dad and me laugh.
After months of bickering with you in the car about music, I stumbled into the strange realization that you love 70’s music. I randomly played Creedance Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” for you one day and you were hooked. We listened to it no fewer than fifty times in a week before I thought to punch in CCR to Pandora Radio and voila, music we can both listen to. The other morning American Pie came on the radio – a song that my sisters and friends and I would dance to endlessly when we were small, complete with a choreographed dance that our poor parents had to suffer through on many occasions. I am sure my father cursed the day he ever introduced us to that eight minute and thirty-two second song, because while it is awesome to listen to in the car, it was probably rather mind numbing to watch ten year olds stumble through a dance routine time after time after time. No matter, you finally love singing and dancing at school and when you danced in your car seat this morning to that classic song, I felt a little teary as I always do when you love things that I loved as a kid. I think that connection of my childhood to yours feels incredibly special and I don’t really know how to find the words to describe that.
Outside the leaves are changing in the mountains and small spots of yellow can be seen in some of the trees on the streets of our neighborhood. Winter ticks ever closer and I am holding onto the last golden days for as long as I can. I know, however, that when our lawn is covered in snow and the trees stand bare against a very dismal grey sky, I am going to think back to August and our trip to Squam Lake in New Hampshire. We had not been to the lake since I was nearly eight months pregnant with you and you instantly fell in love with it. You insisted on having the curtains on your bedroom windows open so you could see the lake during your nap and at bedtime. You spent day after day wading in up to your waist to throw hundreds of rocks into the water and learning to fish with your very first fishing rod. You learned how to cast pretty quickly and your dad and I had a hard time not crying over how proud we were. You loved going on boat rides, squealing when we went fast and pointing out every single “Slow No Wake” buoy when we had to slow down. We took you to the boy’s camp that fronts the lake because I have this crazy hope that you will want to go there six years from now when you are eight just like your uncles did when they were young. We walked around the camp and I could just begin to envision you there running around with this pack of boys. Your favorite thing was the tetherball and when you had a hard time pushing the ball, some much older boys came to your aid, showing you how to play. It was such a sweet and kind gesture and I hoped that when you were older that you could show such kindness to a younger kid.
I am finally finishing this post on flight to Massachusetts to attend a wedding of a dear friend from Smith. Whenever I mention Smith, you ask me how to spell it, just as you ask me how to spell most things these days. The other day I think I spelled cat, mighty machine, bulldozer, black, green, red, school, apple and truck all in the span of a minute. I was a terrible speller in school but this constant spelling bee may be a benefit to both of us. Luckily, you haven’t started asking me how to spell xylophone or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
This is the second trip I have taken without you and your dad. The absolute thrill of sitting on an airplane and reading three New Yorkers in succession instead of being interrupted by you harassing fellow passengers, arguing with you about not touching the window shade or hissing threats that for-the-last-goddamned-time-stop-kicking-the-chair-in-front-of-you feels as relaxing as a day spa. But this happiness is mitigated by the fact that I miss you and your dad horribly. What is it about sitting on a plane, train or any other form of public transportation, my earphones clapped my head as vintage REM plays that makes me instantly feel as if I am watching a movie of my life – removed from the everyday sameness, suddenly everything seems wondrous and precious and all senses are heightened. Somehow all the things that drive me insane about parenthood slip away and I am left with only a sweet home video playing through my head of you laughing as your dad says something funny or you hugging me tightly as you tell me you are going to miss me so much while I am gone. Where does that wonder go when I am in the thick of it with you? This same dreamy feeling of flying high above the earth, the music loud in my ears, makes me ache with love for you and I think again of checking on you last night before I left. There you were sprawled across the bed, your stuffed animal, Lion, tucked under your arm and so peaceful and so perfect in every possible way that I again immediately forgave all the flaws of the day and could only hope that you will forgive me mine.