Over the weekend, my parents came out to River Camp. My 91-year-old grandmother lives with them, as well as a dog who suffers from mental illness—sociopathy, I think. I convinced them to put the dog in a kennel for the weekend, and my brother and sister-in-law stayed at the house with Nanny.
While my friend Lisa bikes the entire East Coast Greenway, our family has sacrificially signed up for a two-week stint of doggy sitting at Lisa’s river house. Our turn came up for River Camp on Saturday. We've been here for six days so far, and it's been glorious. Mostly.
Lately, the weeks have been flying by (cliche), but the speedy passage of time has just further added to the minor funk I've been in. Ethan is finishing 4th grade, Oliver is prepping for kindergarten, Harry is sleeping in his own room, the whales are dying because of plastic. Also I have wolf-face disease. Anyway, life is fleeting. (<—name that quote! It’s an obscure one…)
Almost ten years ago, I attended a reading by David Sedaris. Some unlucky circumstances led me to leave after several hours, before my turn to meet him and get an autograph. Last night, Noah surprised me by taking me to a reading for David’s new book, Calypso. I finally got the autograph and, incidentally, David sort of called me a hooker. Don’t worry, it wasn’t mean or #metoo. For one thing, he’s gay, so I’m certain he wouldn’t have been interested in my services anyway.
More often than not lately, parenting has felt like a delightful surprise. It's not always, of course. Sometimes it's like having an upset feral cat around while I'm trying to do...well, anything. Anything is difficult when you're responsible for an upset feral cat.
When so many good days line up with very few blips, it's easy to remember what makes parenting the best, most challenging yet rewarding responsibility I've ever chosen. It’s also impossible not to think about the time I was a foster parent, about our foster baby, and what might have been.
A few months ago—in fact, the day after I gave birth to my third son, Harry—I got an email from a nationally important organization inquiring about my freelance writing services. Which was exciting! So I wrote back honestly, saying that yeah I was interested but also I was still currently having my uterus pressed by nurses, so it might be a couple weeks before I could get to emailing them some writing samples.
The interview went well, then I fumbled the return, if you will. And thus came the thoughts and feelings.
I spent some time listening to Ethan this evening. When I first started writing on a blog, Ethan was only months old. He's almost 9 now. As he talked, I sat and studied his little face. Suddenly I was transported. When he eventually got up to get in the bath, I immediately wrote these reflections. This is unedited and not overthought, which makes for a nice change, amiright?