When I tell some people, I feel guarded. Self conscious. Pregnant catches in my throat for two weeks before I tell the folks I work with. For no good reason, of course -- they are kind and congratulatory.
But when I walk up to her it tumbles out. Four, I smile. She has that many, too. They're all out of the house and she grows and raises and crafts food with passion and runs her own business and she looks so strong standing on her own two feet and I hold her up as a model for what I could be after all this. When she smiles I can see her laugh lines. Oh, how I wish mine were still young. I hear her past threading through her words.
I'm not there but I know what she means. I hear what she's saying. Live here. Live now.
So simple. But so hard. At least for me.
Dishes done, one girl napping, two girls playing. Notebook in hand. I haven't opened it yet when the Awake Ones find me. Request candy (just one piece?) and ask me to play a game. Of course I will. One day they'll stop asking. I know this.
But one smacks her gum while I shiver and the other fidgets across five square feet of floor, wiggling under my skin. I have to remind each player of her turn. The space vibrates with their noise. I'm starting to get annoyed. I'm starting to wish myself somewhere else. With my notebook, maybe. Or with my pillow. And definitely alone.
But then, for once, I remember what I've been reading. About finding now by finding the breath. (I know. I've written about this before. I'm a slow learner, it seems.)
So I notice the in and the out. The rise and the fall. And I notice how annoyed I feel. It doesn't go away. But I'm here, feeling and playing, and suddenly very Aware that annoyed is an emotion -- it's not what I am.
The feeling never really goes away but I set it aside, on the edge of my periphery. Out of focus.
No one wins the game. It goes on too long and we all agree to quit early. When I tell them I had fun its mostly true. My feathers are all lying down, at least.
It's later. The napper is up and busy with cups and water in the yard. The other two play in Another World of their private creation.
Okay, now's the time. I open my notebook and set down a few lines. She looks up from her cups and sees me sitting there. Her wheels turn while she plans her approach.
She plants her damp bottom on my lap, thinking she's so sly as she slides the pen from my hand and oh-so-stealthily scribbles over my page. Her smile is so satisfied.
I just watch.
Soon she's asking about Eeeee's and Oooooh's and we're filling my writing space with capital letters. She says H like eight and watches my mouth as I tell her double you. That one mystifies her. Her joy seeps into me as sure as her wet dress soaks through my jeans and cools my skin.
She won't remember this -- she's too little. But I will. Because I don't need to breathe to be here this time. I just am.