love is love, fish is fish

I’m eating chicken I cooked earlier in the crockpot. I overdid the soy sauce and underdid the honey, so it is way too salty. But it’s food in a bowl, along with Jasmine rice and steamed broccoli, and I’m sitting down alone for the first time all day while the girls play for a while up the street.

I’m listening to a beautiful song and thinking about people I love: the ones who feel crappy and anxious and overwhelmed and stressed and don’t want to get out of bed, the ones who keep the shades drawn and still manage to reach out, to write beautiful sentences. The ones who are probably drinking beers together after a day of mountain bike riding, and the little ones who I hope will collapse by 8:30 after scrambling their own eggs this morning, walking in the woods as “fern fairies,” rockin’ the soccer game (9-5), and playing with their friends for six hours straight.

I’m waiting for my period to start. any. minute. now. as evidenced by insane sugar cravings, an increased propensity to take everything personally, a mind that seems hellbent on reviewing all the things I did today, as if roving for credit for the laundry, the dishes, the dog, the groceries, the breakfast, lunch and dinner, fantasizing that someone might appear at my door saying,

Hey girl, thanks for everything you did today. Now eat this dark chocolate and drink this red wine while I give you a foot massage.

It can be a fine line between wanting to feel appreciated and playing the martyr – when all I really needed was that reminder to breathe in the grocery store after one of the four girls with me dropped an entire gallon of milk on the floor. And so I did. Breathe, that is.

I’m noticing what I avoid, where I shut down, when I insulate myself with being busy or tired or frightened or pleasant or just plain distracted by a little red blinking light. Blackberry, smackberry, give me a crackberry.

Tonight, just us Strong girls, first Pearl in the bath and later Aviva in the bath while Pearl sat on the back of the toilet tank eating her mac & cheese while I read to them a book the school guidance counselor lent me, then dried and dressed, the three of us sitting around the little kitchen island eating chocolate-chip ice-cream, laughing at me saying “love is love,” like Leo Lionni’s Fish is Fish, then moments later contradicting myself with something about “different ways to love.”

I tell you, that eight-days-till-she’s-eight-year old calls me on my own holes every time.

You know, it felt so good to be talking to them, not in a parental, “it’s good to talk about your feelings” kind of way, but in a direct, honest, “tell me what you want to know” kind of way. And then we peed and brushed and did a bunny puzzle and snuggled and they were both, as I had hoped, fast asleep within minutes.

And now, a night hum I can’t detect, Bobo’s long out-breaths, a low hissing on the fourth stair. Words I wrote nine months ago retrieved from a dear friend’s inbox, a string of emails we both shook our heads at today. Uncanny. But not really. Because we are all on a journey, and love is love, and everything is connected, continuous, one day folding into the next like egg whites in some delectable, impossible recipe.

2 thoughts on “love is love, fish is fish

  1. The Other Laura says:

    Oh, this is beautiful, Jena. And I do that thing too with the soy sauce and also with the roving for credit for laundry and dishes and every single meal.

    You are shining some lovely light into the darker corners, thanks.



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