Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cleaning up old files

I've been going through old computer files, finding ideas for stories I haven't written, research I don't remember doing, and articles that were actually published long, long ago. Today I found this in a file marked "journal". It was the only entry but it was enough. Ian was seven, Zane was three, and Taylor wasn't quite a year old. I was 31.

Sunday night. We try to squeeze the best out of the last few hours of the weekend. Bob and I trade shots of Jim Beam while I spike the BBQ sauce and marinate the spare ribs. Who could resist an open bottle of 7yr old Kentucky Bourbon? Jimmy Buffet is on the stereo and we are dancing in the living room while my eighty year old neighbor across the street stands in her front window shaking her head.

The baby is ready for bed. She isn’t yet old enough to join in on the Sunday celebration. I wish I could spend time cuddling with her but she squirms away and reaches for her crib. Already she is so self-determined, stubborn, and individual. She knows who she is and what she wants. I miss the dependant little bundle she once was and rejoice in the person she is now.

Dinner is messy and noisy. Giggles and ribs, good wine, and kool-aid. “Shhhh. You’re sister’s sleeping” means nothing. Ice cream drips on the table cloth and streaks down little arms leaving trails in the dirt there. Ah, well, warm water and soap work wonders and then it’s pajama time.

This is time to savor the little things. The fresh earth that is waiting for seed in the back yard. The big, little boy who wants to tell me all about the book he is writing. It has 7 chapters, all named and each marked for six pages in his spiral bound notebook. I wonder if he will still be writing in twenty-five years?

The little, big boy wants to sit on my lap and demands a story.. not from a book but from Mom’s “story box." No excuse will dismiss this demand. His hair smells like fresh cut pine. I have no idea why. He cuddles under my chin and patiently explains what the story must be about. In the end, I’m not sure which of us is telling it.

Finally all little bodies are asleep, dishes done and the bbq sauce cleaned from the floor. I’m sitting here trying to capture it all and feeling disappointed with the effort. How can I freeze these last few hours? How do I remember these kids just like they are this minute? I can’t. No picture or word can distill the essence of Sunday night. Tomorrow they will be different people, one day older and every day changes them. All I can hope for is to keep a little of this in the corner of my mind to pull out on the bad days, the days that I’m not so happy with my lot in life. Tonight I can’t think of anything I’d rather be than who I am.


Leeann said...

Wow, Gina.

Just, Wow.

That was beautifully written. I could imagine all of it...the smells, the sounds, the happiness in the simple, mundane yet wonderful moments that make up a life with young kids.

How did you feel reading it?

And how hard is it to imagine a time when Delaney wasn't a part of it?!


nicrogers said...

That was amazing Gina. Really, it brought tears to my eyes just thinking about how lovely those times are, and how we fail to appreciate them when they are happening. Yet you did appreciate it and managed to capture it on paper. That is awesome.

Karen MEG said...

Gina, what a lovely treasure you found there. You have that captured, that moment frozen in time for you to look back at and remember. So precious, these memories of a time not too long ago.

Ginaagain said...

Leeann, Nic and Karen, Thank you for the sweet comments. I really appreciate them.

Leeann, It was really strange. When I read it I instantly remembered everything about that evening. It's almost unbelievable that it was so long ago. It also feels like there was a huge expanse of time between when that was written and when Delaney was born when in reality it was less than two years. Those toddler and elementary years seem so long when you are living them but so terribly short looking back.