In the middle of folding laundry Dan and I stopped and looked at one another. He held a pair of Zaviera’s Pippi Longstocking tights, I held an old t-shirt of Sol’s.

“I can’t believe he’s starting school tomorrow,” I said.

“I know, it snuck up on us. I’m trying to wrap my head around it.”

We continued to fold laundry. In one pile I put away clothing that the children have outgrown. Joaquin’s 3 -6 onesies formed into a small mountain, leaving room in the drawers for the 6-9 month onesies he now fits into comfortably.

Our house is so small that I am not allowed to linger or hoard as my children shed their skins. Clothes, toys, momentos are recycled back into the world. I hold on to a few precious items – a pair of blue jean overalls embroidered with pink roses that Zaviera wore when she was a baby, a pair of white shoes that Sol never fit into – I don’t know how I choose or why I choose at all. It isn’t rational. I wish I could hold on to more but our living situation forces us into a constant, ever-shifting present. We don’t have room to fill our space with the past.

I gathered up my piles of laundry and felt that edge of sadness just beneath my skin, the letting go that parenthood seems to bring in wave after wave. After I had finished putting away Sol’s clothing I stood over him while he was sleeping and watched him.

It is hard to imagine that five years ago today I held him in my arms for the first time. He was born weighing 5 pounds  7 ounces, a wee Yoda of a man whose intensity was right there in his eyes, in his tiny balled fists, in the way he required being held against my breast for nearly the first six months of his life almost non-stop. I look back at it now and wonder if my heartbeat served as an anchor, as something he could return to. The one constant thing he had known since his life began growing inside of me.

Tonight we took him to McDonald’s for his birthday (his choice) and as we sat at the table, I watched him precisely lick his icecream into a perfect sphere. He bit off the bottom of the cone and began to suck the icecream out – all very methodical, hardly a drop wasted. Next to me, Zaviera had managed to lick hers into a leaning, melting tower. Half of it had fallen onto her dress and as she attempted to clean her dress by sucking the icecream off. She ended up with icecream in her hair. Finally she got frustrated, picked up the soda cup, tried to take a sip and then promptly bit into the cup unleashing the last remaining soda across her dress.

Sol, uninterested in his sister’s chaos, finished his icecream. He wiped his mouth, picked up his drink, took a swig and said, “Mommy, I’m just washing the cold out of my mouth.”

In my lap Joaquin growled and mouthed his fist as if imagining what it would be like to get his hands on a burger.

 For a moment – an intermission in the constant forward movement that is our lives – I sat in awe of my family.

I promised myself something tonight as I folded Sol’s clothing and thought about how he has suddenly become this gangly-limbed boy with  big thoughts. I promised myself to try not to  fear the way time seems to be rushing beneath us, carrying us forward on its back. Sometimes the roar of the wind is deafening and it takes all of my energy just to hold on. But every day there is an intermission, a point of calm where time doesn’t move and everything is still.

I want to trust in those intermissions. They are reminders that even as everything continues to shift and change, there is a calm in the center. As I packed away the clothes that my boy has outgrown and prepare for his drawers to be filled with school uniforms, I  thought about him climbing up onto my bed after creche and saying, “Let’s have a little talk Mommy, just me and you.”

I am looking forward to more of those talks. I am looking forward to feeling the wild wind of Sol’s life  as he charges forward.

 I love you Mister Sol Clarke. I am so honored to share in this grand adventure with you.

13 responses

  1. I know I always say this, but – beautiful.

    As an aside, I’m reading ‘God of Small Things’ at the moment, and I suddenly understand so much more (a discussion for in person, a good one).

    Two years ago I was there celebrating Sol’s b-day. How strange…

    Anyway, your words have stirred up a whirlwind of thoughts that are tugging on me playfully and beckoning me to frolic away. Many thought-I’d-make-friends-with-time hugsies

      We definitely have to talk. I am in love with that woman and her mind.

      I thought about his party with your presence – every party since has been missing you!

  2. What a lovely birthday tribute to Sol. You should print this out and save it for when he is older and can read. It made me cry. All day I have been remembering his tiny little body as Dan brought him out, fresh out of your womb and presented this little yoda-like creature to us, with his wise gaze that could make one feel in touch with something otherworldly. We all took turns holding him, greedily, reverently, carefully. Today’s calendar page said, ” I am here to live out loud” with an odd owl with yoda eyes blowing on a horn. That is Sol, living out loud. I love that little man. Thank you for this beautiful glimpse into your process. kali mama

    • I have been thinking about (when I get a break!) seeing if that self-publishing package is still valid and putting together a collection (or maybe just do it myself) with Dan’s pictures and my blogs to give to the family and for the kids when they are older. An ongoing record of our lives together. That calendar page is perfect, I’ll have to put it aside for the photo album.

  3. Every time you write here you create an intermission, and you preserve these days so exquisitely that the outgrown clothes and toys will never be missed.

    • It is funny that you should say that Laurel because the title ‘intermission’ came into my head when I said to Dan, “I need to take an intermission in our regularly scheduled programming to record this day.” Thank you for pointing this out and confirming it. I often feel shy when posting one of these blogs because I imagine it must sound like more of the ‘same old, same old’ but for me right now, this is my way of pausing and absorbing the reality of my life and my children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *