Ten minute freewrite, just because.
This running around, is it ever going to stop? And yet I have not found time to run in days. I am waiting for the bread to rise, and I should probably clean, or sort through that pile of paperwork with school notes, but the papers will just put more things on my list, and I just need to hide from the lists for a moment.
It’s November, and the leaves have fallen. Yet when I think I know what to expect-- snow, quiet, hibernation-- God sends 70 degrees, and tornado warnings. So we hide in the basement for a few hours, and I laugh at the sweet kids who insist that we gather the dog, the cats, and the birds. We are spared, and I am not surprised, though perhaps I should be.
Bedtime followed soon after that, and one child could not sleep. He was sure the weatherman was wrong, that the storms had not passed, that a tornado would sweep him away in his sleep. He begged to sleep in the basement. I prayed with him, yet he continued to cry. I assured him of the alert system, told him mom and dad are always on duty, that we would keep watch even while he slept.
We will always keep you safe, or at least, we would if we could, I thought. And I remembered the talk with my daughter about big girl things, about the birds and the bees, and the strange facts of growing up. I’m not ready for this sort of thing, I thought, to the music of Counting Crows, and I remembered how those very words played in my head when I learned to love and risk with the man who would become my husband.
During the storms yesterday, wind blew through a window in the basement, and as I gathered leaves and tried to fight back the wind, I discovered an old box of keepsakes. My drawing pad from high school, and a few pieces of art from college. “Mommy!” they exclaimed, “You did these things? Why don’t you draw anymore?” and we got out the pencils and the pastels. But it was much more difficult than I remembered, to make art, and it requires time I no longer have, not when a family needs to eat dinner. Maybe someday, or maybe not. But it is fun to remember, and wonderful to watch children, inspired, even if I just feed them.
And in that box was another box of keepsakes, movie tickets, and letters from a young man at war, serving in Kosovo, writing to his college girlfriend. He teased, spoke of marriage, begged for marriage. He made promises and plans, he prayed, he flirted. And as I read those words from long ago, I looked at the man in the living room next to me. It was so wonderful to be pursued like that, I told him. And he smiled, “I am a good hunter, aren’t I?” and though he has yet to bring me home a deer this year, I agreed. Those giddy college kids now sit in a calm, comfortable love, in a house filled with life and love spilled over. Promises kept, fulfilled, and lived-in; the work of God, making two sinners strong in love, making them one.
Next morning, the scared boy woke up safe, and when I gave thanks about that, he shrugged, trying to pretend his fears had never happened. The girl, my first baby, my young woman, woke up with more wide-eyed questions that she whispered to me while I taught her how to pop a pimple. And she calls her younger sister “cute,” though there are only 20 months between them. That younger sister joins us in the bathroom, runs a quick brush through her hair, and declares, “I wish I had long pointy ears like Peter Pan.” She starts as we laugh, as if she were surprised she said that out loud. She is cute.
Big ones go off to school, and the littlest one has unexplainable crying fits. We snuggle, and that turns into sleep. I ignore the lists and forget the meat in the oven. I will catch up later. After I sort those papers and reply to those emails, and run on the treadmill, and read, and pray, and create, and give thanks.
Or I won’t. The bread has risen.