For the mothers who are made, shaped and discovered: thank you. There are many mothers in our Imperfect world, and I am grateful to all of you for your support.
8am, Sunday morning: roll over and crack an eye at the clock. Close eyelid.
8:20 am: crack the other eye. Review the various things that need to happen before it's time to leave the house. Compare that list to the noises from downstairs: are those getting dressed sounds? breakfast sounds? Mmm - breakfast. Stomach rumbles, slam eyelid shut and require both to be patient.
8:35 am: okay, patience sucks. Did breakfast/clothes/making snacks/pouring water/finding the hats/finding the soccer ball (soccer today!) happen? And speaking of breakfast, am I getting my own? Roll over and grump quietly into the pillow
8:40 am: stop grumping. Follow the sound of keys tapping down the hall, and gently ask the Man if I can get up now? He stares at me. Get up? I blink. Get out of bed, I clarify. He stares some more. Get out of - OH. Uh, um - OH. No. You can't get out of bed! I try not to grin wickedly, and offer some highlights from the list of Things To Do in the next 30 minutes. He hyperventilates, and I suggest that perhaps I'll take a shower now, while he regroups. I escape down the hall while he splutters.
8:49 am: Mid-rinse, the bathroom door opens and the Eldest pops in. You have mail! he sings. I spit out some bubbles and say something coherent like, what? hello? But he has gone. When I get out of the shower, I squint nearsightedly at something that might be a card. Sitting on the toilet seat. I resolve to be nearsighted, and squelch down the hall.
9:10 am: Mouth full of toothpaste. The Man whisks in, did you get the card? can you get the kids dressed? can you make snacks for them? can you fill their waterbottles? I have to take a shower and get ready to go. I am faster on the draw this time, and spit out the bubbles before he vanishes - but only just. Sure, and I did get the card. Kid left it on the TOI-let. I crack a significantly arched eyebrow at the Man. I'm going to open it in the car, to make it a family moment. He huffs and races down the hall, trailing his towel.
(I do the petty thing oh, so very well, eh?)
9:35 am: we're in the car, and I make a production out of opening the car. It is wonderful, all snarks aside - the Man got the boys to make handprints, slipped a really terrible pun, and all three of them signed their names. The Man, in unreadable swirls; the Eldest, in tidy cursive; and the Toddles in oh my goodness readable printed lettering. Which, the Eldest delightedly points out, the Toddles did all by himself. With no-one holding his hand! I melt ever so slightly. No, a whole lot. I admire everybody's signature lavishly, and decide to hold off on explaining to the Man exactly how lame he is. (the toilet? a card-and-run? hello?) Oh, I am not going to get teary over the Toddles' writing his name. No. Not at all. Just a little damply proud.
10:05 am: I am climbing out of the car, and we're stuffing an extra kid into it. The car pulls away, leaving me and a bag of ripped clothes behind - I'll have a sewing mama-date with another soccer mom, a semi-regular Sunday arrangement.
10:06 am: there is coffee, there is a fabulously cute baby (oh yes, and his mom), and look! I'm going to sew that damned button on the skirt that has been waiting for the past seven weeks for me to get to it. Ha. I am alarmingly pleased with myself, and breakfast? Sure. Let me just grab a pan and scramble some EGGS. Yep: eggs, baby. Scrambled. With butter. Heh.
10:40 am: and there goes the ripped sweats, now reincarnated as shorts. I forget that I'm insisting on the righteous indignation thing and grin. Whee! I reach for the Eldest's unraveling kipa and hm -whazzat?
10:42 am: ballet? what? WHEN - wait, ballet? Quick inhale. Quick jog down the memory, small grin. Bigger grin.
10:43 am: honey? honey? what do you think about me skipping out for a matinee? There's a last minute ticket - yes, I know. Oh, you didn't have anything planned for the afternoon? Really? Great!
12:57 pm: I have not a single fucking thing to wear. Pants are falling off my bony butt, and when on earth did that happen? Clothing is flying in my neat-freaky room, piles of things that used to fit are looming, and oh cripes, what is left? I swear quietly and creatively, trying not to wake up the Toddles, who is sleeping in my bed.
1:03 pm: the Eldest pops his head in and cheerily informs me that my cab will be here soon. I remind myself not to snarl at the kid, and settle instead for informing him that I'm having a somewhat difficult time, and perhaps now isn't a great time to be here? He settles on the bed, and happily offers to help. Teeth clenched, I propel him out the door. I hate getting dressed. It's like playing Old Maid with a stacked deck: the pairs I want vanish, and giggle. What on earth did I use to wear with this shirt? Surely not that - why would I do that? Ack.
1:12 pm: I'm dressed. I'm also mocking myself in the mirror, but who cares? Cab should be here momentarily and oh, need to change the ratty burlap bag, okay, can do that, and hell. That was a ripping sound, wasn't it. Oh, bugger.
1:20 pm: cab's here, I've found some things that kind of work, the hair is, well, it's pinned firmly on the back of my head, so I can't see it, and ignorance is probably bliss. Bag's changed, got a warm layer - right! Time to go.
1:20:56 pm: my dad? calling from Kosovo? Aaaahgrlfk - hi, Dad.
1:22 pm: cab's gone. Call cab back. Chew nails. Curtain is at 2pm, furiously calculate just how late I'm going to be.
2:11 pm: standing in the dark theatre, waiting the usher to seat me in the second row from the freakin' holy hell front, I'm entranced. It's Eifman's Onegin, and it is wonderful. For the next two hours, the snarks and petty grumps will drop away. The muscles will relax. The jaw will drop, the vocabulary will be temporarily silenced. Instead, I'll watch elegant, brutal, thoughtful dancing, set against a backdrop of a carefully designed set, with a brilliant mix of classical and modern music, classical and modern dance. The patterns of the ballet - a color theme here, a trail of prop there, an echoed dance step, bend of an elbow - piece themselves together in my head, and I stare at structures forming in my brain, intricate and deliberate. I remember those structures, remember building them inside my skull, lo these many post-grad years ago. And then onstage, a dancer will move and -
For two hours, I'll sit in another world. When I step out of it and on to the train home, I'll carry wisps of it with me...and I will smile. And yes, no problem, love - I'd be happy to go online and order myself a gift. From the bit of paper I'd posted on the fridge a few weeks ago?The Man eyes me suspiciously, waiting for the petty, the snip or snark. Instead, I smile. I'm brimful of the oh.
I drift off happily, completely forgetting about the thingamibob that we've budgeted for. I have, after all, been well celebrated today. At bedtime, I'll reopen the card and admit that yes, I am after all sniffling a bit over the handprints and the carefully - laboriously - written names. And the guy who had the foresight to make it.
A Mother's Day lunch: for a fast lunch, I had a bowlful of this, happily reworking the sabbath's leftover brown rice. I suspect it would make an excellent meal for a new mum, baby in one arm, spoon in another...got to remember that. If only to bring it along to a virtual baby shower sometime.
B'sha'a tova*, Seamaiden.
Far From Leftover: Sweet Gingered Brown Rice Salad
(based on "warm brown rice salad," Boston Globe 4/22/2009, G25)
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 small crown broccoli, cut into small pieces (stems and florets)
2-3 scallions, sliced somewhat finely
1/3rd c toasted sunflower seeds (or slivered almonds, pine nuts, or some other mild crunch.)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained
optional: add more! I considered craisins and thinly sliced carrots, but you could replace the chickpeas with cubes of leftover chicken. Have fun.
Pour brown rice and broccoli into a oven-friendly casserole. Pop into a 300 F oven while you assemble, chop and mince everything else.
1/8 c. maple syrup
1/8 c. tamari soy sauce (regular soy sauce has wheat)
1/3 c. olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped rather finely
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced. Yes, minced. Just do it.
1.5 Tb maple syrup
Whisk the dressing together while the rice and broccoli are warming up. Pull rice and broccoli out of the oven - the broccoli is now that bright green color that shows that it's barely begun to be cooked. Add the rest of the ingredients to the salad, and toss gently with the dressing.
Serve, having reserved a bowl for yourself. Eat that for thirds - it's only the fast and the cleverly prepared who are going to get that much. Fair warning, people.
* in a good hour. Meaning, may what happens come in the right time, and the right way - however that way, and whenever that time may be.