Friday, September 7, 2012

dear you, dear me

Dear Auden,

You know what I just realized about blogging, after all these years? It's that I've been trying to hew to a formula and the formula is bullshit. The markers and milestones and cheesy "letters" are bullshit. The trying to record my relationship to you in a way that is lyrical, genuine, and also amusing... it's bullshit.

I realized that tonight as I went in to your bedroom to check on you, and you had fallen fast asleep, and I put my hand on your bare chest and felt your heart thumping, and I marveled at your slim shoulders and the curves of your nose, your cheeks, your perfect sleeping mouth.

I felt fiercely in love you with right then, and I realized I had been unknowingly assuming that that kind of fierce love was reserved for infants, or maybe just specifically YOU as an infant. It was as if I had been subconsciously telling myself that I could never have your infancy back, and with it, the raw and enormous and lucent love that sharpened those months.

Isn't that silly?

I still love you that way.

It's just easier now to get distracted by every-day logistics, new challenges, your healthy and infuriating defiance. And it's not your birthday or any other milestone, but right this very minute I am watching you grow, I am watching you sleep, I am watching you kick and tumble, I am watching you become yourself with the same amazement and pride that I felt four years ago.

This thing of being your mother is so huge. I am humbled and exhausted and pried open.


But all of this writing is really for me, so maybe the formula should be more like:

Dear Robin,

You know what you did today? You fed and dressed your children; you scrubbed poop out of a jute rug; you went to your two classes and bent your mind around the art of Dynastic Egypt and then around the mathematical rules of angles that compose a two-point perspective drawing.

You squabbled with Jason about discipline and consistency in dealing with tantrums and tearful snot-smearing bids for attention at the breakfast table, then you apologized, and Jason took the kids to school and you had a nice breakfast alone. You felt guilty about this transition to full-time day-care for Isla; you vowed to be more present and more patient.

You lost your patience about that whole poop-in-the-jute-rug thing.

You took the kids to a PawSox game, their first-ever baseball game in a real stadium, and watched as wide-eyed amazement gave way to sheer glee which then devolved into sugar-and-popcorn fueled shenanigans, but all of which was purely awesome to experience vicariously.

You got frustrated about painting; then you finally resolved the piece and rejoiced and called your dad.

You took a call from a friend who was struggling, and you gave her the very thoughtful and loving support that you yourself needed to hear.

You had a hard morning, and then a good afternoon; or maybe a good morning and a hard afternoon, where you couldn't quite put your finger on what made it hard, but you were distracted and let the kids tear up the house and draw on themselves with marker while you tried to talk yourself out of quietly falling apart.

Still, you managed to put together a healthful and delicious dinner, with all of the places set and silverware and drinks out and everything, and after dinner you took the kids to the park, where at first you felt like a lump of pity-clay because of that Hard Afternoon, but eventually you warmed up and played monster, chasing and tickling. You delighted in the crazy goofy dances Auden was doing to evade your grabbing monster hands; you threw your head back and laughed because he was laughing so hard -- and there is nothing at all in the world like the laughter of your son... that one particular laugh, the one when you tickle him just right, the fullest and realest and laughingest laugh, the one that rises like a wave, going up and up and up, until it crests and tumbles out over everything -- which of course was the perfect balm on your over-worked and worked-up thinker.

You will do anything for that laugh, even when it's no good getting Auden all riled up like that, and the fall-out is that you are done playing sooner than he is... But you realized today that you won't always be able to make him laugh that way, or to laugh at him doing his monkey dances in his little lithe four-year-old body, and how gorgeous is this one night, with its air so soft and your heart so tender.