We woke up to a winter wonderland. Of course, it still is winter, and we keep forgetting this, mostly because we want it to be over. An 80-degree day in February gave us a false sense of spring, and now we sit here looking at the snow accumulating on everything our eye can spy outside.
J was up very early. Up and raring to go. I think he (and I know this is weird) heard the snow and thought it was best to just make sure Dada was going to work anyway. School was cancelled, but there is Dada, sitting in his office, hoping the road is properly cleared by evening.
J and I have done all the chores already. We had them done by 8 in the morning. That isn’t, regardless of how early it seems, a record. We’ve actually (on other winter mornings) had our chores done by 7:00 or 7:30. He is now working on a puzzle while listening to music, and I am trying to catch up with everything I’ve put aside because I keep getting distracted by everyday life.
The lip has healed. It is beautiful. There will be a small scar that will show it was once a small wound, but it will not mar the beauty of J’s smile. Interestingly enough, J’s little lip scar is on exactly the same spot where I have one from a cataclysmic fall when I was three years old. Mine required emergency plastic surgery, and I was very self-conscious about it growing up…J is just now fonder of lip balm than he used to be…he wants that sucker to gleam when you look at it.
Yes, things are busy here. We are working on our spring cleaning little by little. We have realized how big this townhouse is, and how ready we are for less. Is that odd? Our nest will never be empty, but we do want a smaller one nonetheless. It’s not just the cleaning and the keeping things in order; we have become less charmed by the idea of more of anything other than time to be together, enjoying the little things that make us feel happy and peaceful. This is not, of course, a life without problems, but rather a life without added bells and whistles that make the problems more overwhelming.
We also think that J is ready for a change. He doesn’t really enjoy this weather. I think the greatest advantage he sees in not having to go to school is that he doesn’t have to brave the slippery surfaces from here to the bus and back. He also doesn’t mind not having to bundle up in sixty layers on a daily basis. Going out to appointments or for fun is one thing; the layers are manageable then…but day in and day out it becomes a huge encumbrance, and J really doesn’t miss it. I can’t say I blame him.
There are, however, little things that we keep discovering about each other, about J, and about ourselves. J, for example, will always obsess about the weirdest things, but it makes sense to him and, when we put ourselves in his shoes, it makes sense for us, too. J has come to realize that we, too, obsess over the weirdest things, and he has grown to accept these quirks. He doesn’t always agree with, or understand, them, but he accepts them. Negotiation between us has become easier, sort of, because we are more willing to understand the little things. A hand extends to help me off the floor; more patience is exercised because an obsessive behavior needs to be expended. Stopping in the middle of putting a Lego together because someone’s eyes are tired becomes easier; pausing to listen to instructions even though we really are in a hurry to be done so we can go back to whatever animated movie we are watching repeatedly becomes less grating. Waking someone up more gently because a timer has gone off and we realize it’s bedtime but old people have taken a shortcut to that particular daily milestone is a recurring act of kindness. Accepting a shorter timer because some people are more eager to end the day than others is no longer a Greek tragedy with chorus and all…
If we can translate all this into a way of living that stretches out for the next five to ten years we will feel like it’s an embarrassment of riches. The moments when our lens refocuses and we are more realistic we get a little down in the mouth. If this is not easy in our fifties, what will it be like in our sixties? J is a young man now, but by then he, too, will have crossed another decade threshold, and there will be moments when we won’t be equipped to deal with what he requires from us.
We think about this more and more. We worry about it. We don’t agonize, but we do hear the wheels and gears clicking away relentlessly. And so we plan on things being smaller, more manageable, more apropos to being able for a little while longer…
And it’s snowing, and it’s almost springtime, and time clicks clicks clicks…back to lists and plans, and culling and trimming. Tomorrow, inevitably, is another day, and we have Legos to build because a Christmas village needs new buildings even when it’s no longer Christmas. Yes, it grows out, and over, and around… And while we can we will keep up. It’s what we do. It’s our concession to J’s idea of fun. Pauses and all, it works for the three of us.
Until it no longer does, we will plug away at accommodating each other, at understanding, at adjusting. Less spaces to clean, and rooms to organize will be nice. Less disruptions that we are not prepared for will be convenient. Is it possible? We’re working on it…