"I'm all wet and my bed is SOAKIN'," announces my daughter at 0434. That is military time for just fell asleep.
"Abbeeeeeeee," hisses Grayson. "Don't wake her uhhhhhhhp!"
I show up on the scene in my floppy pjs, Joan Jett bedhair, and frog voice.
"It's ok, Honey. I just have to put these peepee sheets in the washer, then I'm going back to bed."
"NO MOM CLOSE YOUR EYES YOU HAVE TO CLOSE YOUR EYES!" My son is downstairs, holding a purple marker.
"It's ok, Honey. I will close my eyes, feel my way down these stairs, put the peepee sheets in the washer, then I'm going back to bed."
This suffices and I complete my blind journey to the washer and back to bed. In what seems like forty seconds later, I smell bacon.
Whispers conspiring, giggles erupting, and the refrigerator door suctioning its fool head off to the point of ill repute is going on downstairs.
Breakfast in bed. Homemade cards. Naked Abby butt (always the naked Abby, Lord help her find a safe nudest colony when she's older), Spiderman Grayson shirt, sleepy-almond Sadie eyes, curious black Sparrow nose, and a smiling husband carrying a tray of bacon, spinach and cheese omelet, orange juice, hot tea, and a pretty shot glass of cut flowers.
"Daddy! Those are my flowers. You cut MY flowers!?"
"It's ok, Honey. I just have to glue them back on when I finish eating," I lie. Anything to get to the bacon.
A few precarious bed jostles later, I am left all alone to enjoy my meal. This delicious gift brought to me by the three people I dote on every day except when I'm cooking. Cooking is hard enough for me with all the do this, do that, I forgot to buy this, whatever I just put in there is going to completely ruin that. When the kids (or a fly) are in the kitchen distracting me, I can seriously cut off my own hand without much effort.
The day curls forward without my help; it has its own rhythm. Before long, kids have blankets and are busy building, changing blueprints mid-contruct, and rebuilding in the backyard. Andy is four layers deep in his garage and I'm upstairs putting laundry away. And putting laundry away. And putting more laundry away. I get how Kate Gosselin has great biceps. She never stops putting laundry away. "You put all those clothes away?" asks my husband astonished I can move like a cat when nobody is around.
"It's ok, Honey, I don't mind doing chores in a quiet house."
We interrupt the natural tempo of Sunday by taking my much neglected car to the car wash (industrial vacuum). Then it's frozen custard time. Abby's vanilla cone is making pretty rainbow sprinkle blops on her shirt before she even gets in one lick somehow. "Mommy, I'm so messy!" she says with a mix of pride and worry.
"It's ok, Honey. Mommy's so messy too. Girls like us just have to learn how to clean up after ourselves. A lot."
Grayson is, with measured precision, scraping half spoonfuls into his mouth. Andy shares his sprinkles with me because the register lady said I couldn't get any toppings on custard, only on frozen yogurt. (Nevermind Andy's is custard too.) We are both giggling at the random rule-making and breaking of register lady. Clearly, she doesn't like the looks of me. For some reason, I find this so funny.
We get home and something stops me in my path.
"I know!" His voice still so clear in my mind, "we will go to visit her grave on Mother's Day. Think your mom will go too?"
"Yes, I know she will go," I tell Jimmy. "She's been wanting to go visit for a while now. That'll be perfect. We can all go on Mother's Day. I will bring flowers! Do they let you bring flowers to Arlington?"
"I don't know. Should I bring something too? Like a hot cup of coffee poured exactly how she liked it?"
"Yeah, in her favorite tan smoky mug."
"The one with the little crook in the handle?"
"Yeah, that's the one."
He laughs that laugh I can't ungrasp. "Oh man, how nuts are we? Planning a picnic party at Boomps and Boompa's grave site for Mother's Day. So freakin' nuts."
And there I am, immobilized in my kitchen while my sweet family is outside waiting for me to show up, ready to walk to the park on this gorgeous day.
I'm down for the count, on my knees right next to the slider of my pantry. How the hell am I going to get used to this? This f'n nightmare of you being gone? Jimmy. We were going to go to Arlington today. TODAY, we were going to go and I was going to bring flowers and you were going to bring twelve other things and coffee for Boompa and..."
"It's ok, Honey," I feel him say while the dam in me bursts open enough to scare Sadie back into the bathtub, "It's ok."
*Yesterday - such a gift with such a heaviness. I didn't get to see my mom and my heart misses Jimmy in ways that feel close to carrying a backpack that suddenly kicks my ass out of nowhere. It's like I'm wearing this backpack on my chest and I know I'm wearing this backpack but I can ignore it (by telling myself it's in Aruba) most of the time. The weight, the pressure is there but I heave myself around it awkwardly. I reach further to pick up my children and hug them. I use my knees to bring both me and my backpack off the ground, and then WHAM the damn thing's zipper breaks and fifty little horrible ninjas take me down with one memory.
But today, the day after Mother's Day, I get this. I'm at Starbucks, looking for comfort in a grande decaf Caramel Mocha. The wind is surging through the sky, my window is down and I close my eyes to listen for
Jimmy in the trees. Seconds later, this blows right into my lap.
Green. My favorite color. I twirl it around in my fingers and feel promises I don't understand.
I lay it down in my lap and see the shape of a J for Jimmy. Yes, all stretches and completely nuts of me to make any connection whatsoever but I don't care. That dastardly backpack is still on but today I'm gluing its zipper shut.