it’s mid-morning. the rain has been falling quietly and steadily all morning. the day has moved in waves. when i was first awoken by my firstborn screaming intentionally as loud as he could–which i could hear from three rooms, one floor, and a closed door away–there was the furious exhaustion wave. the toddler was full of rage that i tried to snuggle the eldest. the eldest was trying to not be angry at the toddler, to no avail. i overcooked the bread. no one was happy no matter what i did. my spouse tried and failed several times to free me from their frustrated clutches.
food. we all need food. and coffee. my eldest tells me earnestly that my overcooked bread “looks just as nourishing as the last one.” i nurse the toddler even though i don’t feel like it and he is happier. he eats cheese toast quietly in the high chair and i address a few holiday cards. papa plays with the kids upstairs and i get three quality minutes with my seed catalogue. before i can take a breath he is off to do the paid work and the rhythm of everyday settles over us.
the hours slide by. we play and put away and organize and clean. they fight. they make up. i slip away and work on organizing the boxes of papers from my father’s house, which we are only slowly beginning to go through 6 years after his death. i find a thick folder of drawings of mine of members of my family, better than i would have expected (it turns out that’s because they were really my sister’s). another thick folder of letters and my father’s diaries. set those aside, it’s nowhere near time. my children are still playing quietly upstairs. i hear periodic wails of frustration from the five year old, through the monitor, as he tries to work a three dimensional toy labyrinth. i keep sorting.
the rain falls harder on the tin roof. the children come downstairs. a diaper needs changing. they play, they chase each other. the unstructured time to themselves, without my micromanagement, has given them a rhythm, a break in the conflict. they chase each other in circles. the eldest is gentle. the toddler doesn’t fuss about every little transgression.
the little humans and i need feeding again. more food is half made, but suddenly the lights go out. “mama, i’m making it like a real thunderstorm!” “it is a real thunderstorm, baby.” we turn off all the lights, set the food aside, and go stand on the porch to watch the rain. it’s magical. it’s not even 11am.