I think I am missing something key about temporal transitions.
Morning is toughest, with that sudden leap from sleep to food preparation. But the coffee helps. Mid-afternoon is another hurdle: school pick up, drop offs at various extracurricular activities, the gas gauge that taunts with low readings, a necessary cup of coffee to get me through the evening.
Oh, evening. Evenings should be glimmery and full of appetizers and cocktails. Evenings should find me dressed in clothes from the 20s, those straight, lacy dresses that only look good on one body type, the type I no longer find in my possession. Evenings should be all delicate laughter and tasteful jokes, a piano tinkling somewhere off-stage.
Reality gives me evenings tainted with suddenly urgent tasks like dinner, and children who’ve worked hard at being good at school all day long and who assume they are off duty now that they’re home. Evenings are rushed, hectic, and often smell of burnt spaghetti sauce.
Last Friday I decided we’d all eat bagels for dinner. B, who is three, fell asleep in the way home and snoozed in a lump on the couch while his brother practiced his piano piece for the talent show at school. B slept while I fed horses and walked dogs. B woke up, cranky. I held him on the couch. He fell back asleep and, even though one of the dogs was doing something disgusting in the kitchen, I stayed under that dense parcel of heat.* The light outside was disappearing and I watched as the tree branches of our back woods became invisible against the darkening sky. When was the last time I’d stayed still and quiet under a sleeping child? Especially at a time of day usually reserved for dreary panic?
Maybe when I am old and less tethered by the daily application of food and drink to children and animals, I will enjoy a nightly cocktail, shaken for me by my dashing husband, accompanied by music that flows from an unscratched cd. And maybe they will taste all the sweeter, those future evenings, because I have known what passes for hardship among privileged moms. Or maybe evening will come and I will miss the way a baby’s whole body breathes in and out while he sleeps, slowing my heart, slowing my mind.
* The heat – it was actually a fever. B and I had to leave halfway through the talent show, but at least we got to cheer for T, who performed “Square Dance” with aplomb and only a slightly pale face.