August. People with jobs are either on vacation or gearing up for September, and people who stay home with kids are, well, home with kids. Which am I? Raise your right index finger in the air and wave it around gently while you say, “A-ha-aaaa” with a knowing Yiddish accent that sounds a little like the NBC jingle. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Exactly.
I am sort of home with kids. I sort of have a job.
One thing I’m realizing is that no matter which category you fall into – job or home or a finger-waving “a-ha” – you are probably trying to suck the marrow out of the summer.
I have to admit, part of me is looking forward to September: the return of routines, the return of clients (!). Aviva is ready for first grade. My mom – her whole career tied to the academic year – always says that September is like being shot out of a cannon.
Here comes another finger wave.
It’s August 6. I’m writing about something that doesn’t exist. I’m curious, this morning, what would happen if I settled into this present moment? This 7:13am on August 6, 2009 moment? Am I afraid it won’t be interesting enought to write about? How could the present moment not be enough? That is the mind. Barely through its first cup of coffee and already judging.
I take a deep breath. I stop typing. Feel the breath enter my nose and flow down the back of my throat as if going down a slide. I push the air out until I am empty, waiting. The mind tells me I might be doing it wrong. I take another breath. Let it out.
Aviva and Pearl are fast asleep in Pearl’s bed, where the three of us ended up early this morning. Greg snuck out to his office already, having been on the road all day yesterday. The air feels cool on my bare arms. I am wearing a skirt I got yesterday at the new used place on lower Main Street. I like the way the slip part feels against my skin.
I come here to land. I look out the windows in front of my computer and see our wild little L-shaped garden, a miniature Japanese maple looking like it just woke up, the row of pink impatiens that were a gift from my mom, a little rustling.
From here, the world looks still. But there is movement. I can hear it – the cars on the highway off in the distance, tiny birds chirping, “It’s still summer! It’s still summer!”
My body looks still, but there is movement. Fingers tapping keys, belly moving in and out, thoughts coursing like blood.
Slowing down now, dreams come. Friends at the front door, a new baby, tears. I dreamt about just having given birth. I had become impatient and gotten an injection of pitocin. Later, I wondered why I hadn’t let my labor go at its own pace, wished I hadn’t rushed it.
My girls are sleeping. In September, sleeping at 7:23am will not be an option most days. My girls are birthing themselves every day, each moment unfolding, or each day a fold, like origami girls, each day folding themselves into a shape they will try on, some staying, others not. Their essential nature will always be just that. I do not want to rush them, or judge them. I do not want to interfere with them finding their shape.
I am home with kids, I have my own business, I am yes-and-neither-nor-beyond-category-breath-catching.
When will I learn, when I will I let things flow as they inevitably will? When will I let go? How about now? Why not start now? And then, I’ll forget again, tense up, ask for the pitocin in a futile attempt to speed up a process that is doing just fine on its own.
I will try to bring some tenderness. Remind myself of the dream, the one where I was filled with regret. No regrets now. And I will mother myself, with the very words I whisper to my girls at night: Everything is just right. Take your time. Take your time. Take your time.