This morning I led a passover-themed music program online. Wanting to look professional (I do want to work for this synagogue again in the future), I had to clear a space that looked professional and didn’t have my kids streaking through it. The library was the obvious answer, since it has not one but two doors between it and the rest of the house. I straightened up the books on the shelves, adding a few children’s passover books, and cleared the floor in a four-foot radius around me. Outside my circle, chaos still reigned; inside the circle I sat serenely in front of neatly-organized bookshelves.
It looked good enough that I finally replaced my old profile picture of me and K in my parents’ pool when she was a baby.
While biking to a friend’s house to pick up some Maror (horseradish, for the seder) from her mailbox, we had a bit of an incident. E was on the tandem trailer attached to my bike, and when I heard her shout, “Wait! I’m off my seat!” I stopped quickly. Mr. December couldn’t stop, and ploughed right into her.
As it turned out, his rear brake cable had snapped, making it harder for him to brake. When we got home I produced an assortment of tools and an extra brake cable and we got to work. Putting away his now-repaired bike, Mr. December asked me to please do something about all the random pieces of wood and drywall that blocked off part of the garage. This was not a new request; I think he’s been asking since we moved in a year and a half ago. What was different this time is that he actually offered to help. Ten minutes later, the garage floor was clear (except for bikes) and we could easily access everything.
Meanwhile, the three younger kids were building blanket forts in E’s room. I was invited up to see them and eagerly agreed (which is unusual for me; I often have to be dragged.) When I got to E’s doorway I saw that the only empty space was on her bed, which was still expanded to a king size from last night’s sibling sleepover.
I guess I could have shouted and yelled about the mess, but instead I was drawn to a tempting patch of sunlight on the bed. “I’m going to just be a cat for a while,” I told the kids as I lay down and closed my eyes. One by one they crawled over to me and snuggled into my side; I rubbed their bellies. It was sweet.
It was the kind of sweet moment I should have tried to remember an hour later, as I yelled at them for fighting, for not having cleaned their paintbrushes, and for touching the paint tubes before I was ready. We worked together on painting our seder plate and I made peace with the fact that it’s going to look like a cross between preschool art and a sloppy henna tattoo. One day I’ll get to design and make my own projects again. One day… but not today.
Tonight being movie night, we watched Airplane with the kids. Do anybody else’s kids ask questions about a movie like they need to know everything upfront?
“Hey, why is he leaving the taxi running?”
“Wait and find out,” we murmur.
“Why are they covered in seaweed?”
“Because it’s a parody,” I said. Now shut up, I thought.
“What are they doing?”
“You know what?” I whine, “You’re supposed to extrapolate from incomplete information! The movie will tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it! Now stop talking and watch the movie!”
“Ohhhhh… I get it! Am I right? Did I get it?”
“Yes,” I sigh, “now STOP TALKING AND ENJOY THE MOVIE!”
They didn’t stop talking, but they did enjoy the movie — so much so that we promised to show them Airplane 2 next time.
Guys, I’m tired. I’m too tired to come up with a witty ending. Today was good on the whole, with brief moments of despair. Not ideal, but I’ll take it.