Saturday. August 20, 2016. KITCHEN TABLE, CR. Vitalia is sleeping peacefully on the carpet, outside the kitchen. Rachel, on her back beneath the window, next to the radiator. All is quiet, while the other three do their version of ‘quiet time’ in their bedroom. It is a semi-introspective moment for Daddy.
I sip heavily creamed coffee and suck dark chocolate wafers while fans waft a semblance of air across my bare chest. It seems, for a moment, I am alone.
I tried working in the garden earlier, but within minutes I lost several pounds.
The garden’s been an immense disaster (read: total failure) this year. Packets of seeds, carefully planted at the appropriate depth and space from one another. Washed away in torrential downpours. The only things that ended up growing were mistakes. Squash and tomato seeds dumped in the compost pile. But even they didn’t last long. Sprouted too late. More nymphs than fruit. Or no fruit at all.
We’ve been contemplating looking at houses to buy. Sometimes encouraged that it’s a possibility. Other times, discouraged that it costs so much just to get a fixer-upper. Thankfully, no rush.
I wonder why I write this. Why share it at all? I don’t really want my thoughts floating around for all to see. (Hence, the semi-introspectiveness of this post.) Yet at the same time, wanting to preserve some narrational and pictorial version of life together before children are grown and gone.
These kids are messy.
I was talking with my cousin several months ago (who also has four children) and he articulated the following truths of Fatherhood. Sometimes you forget who you are. You rarely know what you’re doing. When you have free time, you hesitate to start anything, in anticipation of the next ’emergency’ arising. The next question. The next. You don’t have any hobbies any more.
Trying to hold people together. Bringing the peace. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’
Several days ago Rachel gashed her foot on a nail in our bedroom. It was not pretty. But thankfully she is okay.
We eat pancakes every day. And I’m not getting tired of it. In fact, I love them more every morning. Though it does make breakfast hectic at times. Some like the butter in pats so they can spread it themselves. Others like me to spread it. Some like maple syrup on before the butter. Others, reverse.
Talia just woke up, but she still looks tired. Her training underwear is still dry. Win.
Some like cinnamon. Some like to put the cinnamon on themselves, but don’t know when to stop. Some want me to do things they can do themselves. Others want to do things that I should probably be doing for them. Some want almond butter. Others, peanut. Maybe we give too many options.
Last night, after dinner, I said I needed to rest and digest. To which Talia artfully replied, ‘Rest and my dresses.’
I’ve been reading the newspaper everyday, but I think it’s too much. Floods, fires, shootings, viruses, sovereign defaults, and bombs. Maybe I’ll take a break. I can’t hold it all in my head and heart.
Talia is screaming now.
And Annie is asking me to ‘stamp’ (staple) some paper for her. It’s a good day.