I’m pretty sure Cat Stevens didn’t write Morning Has Broken on a Monday morning. Maybe on a Friday, almost certainly on a Saturday, but I’m pretty convinced he did it on a Sunday. Regardless of the beauty of a Monday morning’s dawn, there is a quality to this first work-day of the week that doesn’t inspire anything but the long litany of less-than-happy titles and lyrics: Manic Monday, I Don’t Like Mondays, Monday, Monday and last, but most definitely not least, Rainy Days and Mondays. If on a Monday morning the percolator doesn’t explode, the toaster doesn’t spontaneously combust (without even being plugged in,) the trash man doesn’t leave a bigger mess than he found in the dumpster area, we feel like we’ve already part-way succeeded in starting the week right. J started the outdoor time today with Diana Krall singing You Couldn’t Be Cuter and some of the Monday-ness of the morning was nullified.
I suppose it is needless to say that J had the chores done before he stepped out to claim his spot on the deck. The cats got out before he did because they fit through a small opening we leave for them when Dada comes downstairs to search for the cereal. Our oldest cat, the toothless, blind wonder, climbs on the cheap plastic chair that J doesn’t use and they spend the day in companionable silence. From time to time, I admit, I will go outside and check if the feline still breathes, and J peers over the table trying to reassure himself that he’s not hanging out with a dead kitty.
The neighborhood boys, all younger than J, have taken to parading past our deck several times each afternoon. The wave of children is punctuated with loud hellos emitted purely to get J to say hello back. J has been patient so far, but all these greetings might get to him at one point or another. It is, after all, the same procession of kids repeating the cycle shortly after they’ve completed it the previous time. J’s solution to this, I’m sure, will be closing his eyes or running inside when he hears them approaching. Hopefully, they will not stop and insist on the greeting until they get a response should he opt for pretending he’s napping. This trait of J’s is probably hereditary; I often witnessed his paternal great-great-great grandfather developing a rather profound deafness or a deep sleep as Jehova’s Witnesses approached the gate and started calling out to him. Standing inside, I’d whisper through the window “grandpa? Aren’t you going to open the gate???” A few times I thought he was truly asleep or couldn’t hear them, but then I realized he’d let out a low laugh as they walked away and would resume his alert and relaxed position. One shouldn’t, he used to say, be subjected to unwanted conversation past the most basic pleasantries. J, never having met this man, seems to be imbued with the same kind of impatience with excessive socializing.
Thank goodness, though, J seems to be more willing to patience with me. I say this because I grumble quite a bit as he encourages (read: drags me along) to complete my morning routine. I’ve asked my husband to prepare the coffee earlier so that it will have reached the right temperature for drinking sooner, that way I won’t be forced to either down it too quickly and too hot for my taste, or to give up and not have all of it, while J taps his foot and points, insistently, at the first order of business as per the board. The temptation to put a timer on myself is increasingly appealing.
Today, J exercised his patience quite a bit. First, I put him through the indignity of standing on the Wii board and weighing him while the squeaky voice chanted “Measuring! Measuring! Measuring!” At least he’s lost five pounds, which is a huge improvement and basically the result of sweating while he sits outdoors and eating less because his mother is so mean that she guards the snack box like it holds the Holy Grail. Today we ran (if that’s what you can call what J does,) and did some yoga exercises. The sight of J trying to do the Warrior Pose is interesting; as we stood there, posing our fannies off, the thought came to mind “huh! I have NEVER watched Kung Fu Panda!!!” and I turned to J and asked him if he has that movie. The glare he directed at me was part “you’re breaking my concentration, lady” and part “excuse me??? Are you implying I remind you of Po the Panda? Next thing you know you’ll be saying I remind you of Chien-Po in Mulan when we all know I’m a lot more like Yao.”
I had to atone for my Kung Fu Panda reference by playing some Katy Perry for him. J will, of course, pretend like he’s not in the mood to dance along to the music, but he then gets into it and earns his lunch. Yes, movement of a sustained sort with some degree of effort and out-of-the-ordinary commitment is now a requirement for lunch and dinner. At least a walk, I tell J, and he gives in because he knows it’s going to require as much effort on my part as it will on his. If J is carrying unnecessary weight around, I am carrying accumulated years, and the lack of consideration I showed my knees and ankles when I was younger now comes back to bite me with a vengeance. I don’t know how celebrities stay obsessed with their weight and looks when I barely have the energy to calculate if a 90 calorie brownie will be more satisfying than a 130 calorie pack of popcorn.
We are still adjusting in some areas and fully adjusted (dead-set in our ways is more like it) in others. Summer seems to be chugging along satisfactorily. So far, we are pleased and comfortable, and J seems to be enjoying the pace he has set for himself and for the rest of us.
Not bad…not bad at all!