There was an attempt, early this morning, to protest the very notion of a school day. It was a feeble attempt, beyond half-hearted, but -since the protestor is a teenager- it was necessary and fulfilled the requirement of “raging against the establishment.” J groaned in the face of being awakened at six (something he’s been doing by himself throughout his entire vacation) and asked for the light to be turned off in the hallway. He railed (again very weakly) against the imposition of parental authority and the end of his lazy days. It was all vigorous and short-lived, and we all played our roles to the hilt (I’d compare it to three hams chewing the scenery in a community theater production of Arsenic and Old Lace, but we actually were hammier.)
A thin layer of snow is covering the great outdoors. We have learned that, unlike our previous city of residence, this eventuality does not paralyze our current location. In fact, there have been no complaints at all about the presence of snow and, believe me, this was a source of great emoting in the past. People would start bemoaning their fate even before the snow arrived and there were prayer circles convened for the purpose of supplicating at least a two-hour delay the next morning. This was merely in response to the fact that our former town seemed to forget a) that it snowed there, b) that it could snow abundantly without much warning and c) how to maneuver any vehicle in such conditions. Over here, in the East where they do things more efficiently and have longer memories, the roads are cleared and easier to navigate in spite of the hills and curves and, yes, Bambi…
The house has returned to the usual sounds of daily life. Instead of J’s music or movies, I can hear the whirr of the space heaters. The couch and the family room feel rather empty today, and -I have to admit- I miss J and yet I am glad he’s at school. I know that today there will be a certain bounce in his step when we walk from the bus. (Memo to me: make sure bounce doesn’t translate into slip and slide down the hill…take the long way around the buildings, the stairs are in the shade and might have not been salted yet…)
For this evening, since our oldest is not scheduled to work, we have called for a family meeting. Yes, we’re the sort of dorks who do that kind of crap. In spite of it being early days in 2012, we need to discuss the bigger picture, and we’d rather do it with them (even if J usually agrees to anything we say and then does whatever he wants) than not discuss it at all.
It is barely winter, yes, but our limited space makes us have to re-think a garden that used to sprawl over a greater area last spring and summer. J is fond of gardening and we have to figure out how to satisfy his need for outer space and vegetation. If he gets the deck we have to address the issues of dogs wandering around the neighborhood (and we know there’s just the ONE dog, but that’s enough of a canine presence to require attention.) We also will be discussing how long we expect to live in this community and where we’d like to go from here; this means we have to have a certain talk we have been tiptoeing around for a while: what is our oldest doing? How long is HE planning to stay with us?
We always count him in; we always factor in a room for him. He can stay with us (something not out of the ordinary in Latin cultures) until he gets married; he can also decide to move out and try things on his own. There WILL be a space for him if he needs to come back. J, of course, has to get used to this notion and we have, therefore, to introduce it officially with a calendar in hand and making a big deal of letting his brother talk about that possibility. We don’t want J to get the impression that the one cool person in the planet is simply jumping ship and abandoning him.
We dream of a house. Not a big house, mind you. I have reached the point where I’m more interested in a comfortable kitchen, a place that is easy to keep cozy in winter and clean throughout the year. We want a garden, an extra room in case we need it and an area where we can have all our books. A basement would be sheer heaven, especially if it can be finished to become J’s little kingdom. I have this dream where J has a small eat-in kitchen area, his own laundry room, his TV, his bed, a nice little couch and we are all a family, but we don’t really impose our habits on him. We could have a fenced in garden, a nice patio area for him… This, of course, will happen when we win the lottery. Did I mention we will have sprinklers in case of fire, and an old-fashioned intercom…maybe a dumb-waiter? Did I say we’re winning the lottery?
For now, for today, for this period of time that stretches until the school bus delivers the happiest guy in the world at three o’clock, I am in control of this small slice of the planet. My first task is to sit and breathe. Yes, I am going to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet, discover little things J re-arranged during his vacation so I can put them back in place (something that will make him smile…he loves it when I finally figure out what mischief he’s been up to and makes a mental note of where to move things next time,) become reacquainted with the things I do when he’s not around…
Yesterday was a day off…and this (along with the now-defunct Christmas season) has thrown me off. I am confused and still making sure I write 2012 on checks rather than 2011. I need to consult the calendar to make sure it is Tuesday rather than Monday, the third rather than the second. Twice today I’ve had to ask my husband if J got his med this morning; twice I’ve also had to look at the am/PM container to make sure the morning dose isn’t there. Yes, I’ve asked myself if it’s Alzheimer’s and, since I can recall every other little thing, I am pretty sure that it’s the alteration in the space-time continuum caused by the holidays…I think I need a vacation from so much vacation, if you know what I mean.
Now, I am going to be tremendously selfish and make myself a cup of tea that I will NOT consume while standing in front of the kitchen counter, and I’m going to NOT YET make my bed and, instead, curl up with my book and read (yes, I’m still on War and Peace…and I’m sure the Napoleonic Wars did take that long…)
Off I go…to wind down only to intentionally get wound up again…that’s the groove…that’s the way of J’s world…