Mostly, I miss the shoes

Sitting in the second-floor manager’s office, peering through a one-way window overlooking the grocery store, watching as shoppers wander in, pick stuff up, squeeze it, put it back, contemplate what looks good and what’s limp, pay, leave.

Yesterday somebody in Plano, Texas spent seven minutes and thirty seven seconds reading through from the boys’ birth to Liam’s last day, every post. It happens from time to time and I don’t mind, not at all, but I’m compelled to reach out and touch you on the shoulder so you swing around so I can say Hey, hang on, who are you? That was my life, and it happened to me, and I can hardly believe it. What are you doing now, after that seven minutes and thirty-seven seconds? Are you watching American Idol, or did you flip over to eBay or Perez Hilton, or did you go to poke around in the fridge? Can I be you for a while?

Maybe I’m envious that browsers get to leave the store when they feel like the offerings are more bitter than sweet, close the laptop and think to themselves Phewph. Yikes. I’m gonna go make some popcorn.

You’re walking through the parking lot and I’m chasing after you yelling But you know that I cry, and you know about Liam, and you know about the pumping rooms and what the doctors said and about the canoe trip with his ashes, and where the heck is Plano, Texas, anyway? Doesn’t this strike you as kinda weird? Wait! Come back!

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Ben turned nine months old yesterday, or six months old by full-term reckoning. His feet are finally big enough for newborn Robeez. When he wakes up at night I giggle with him when I should be remote and unengaging for the sake of sleep. I can’t resist.

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When does it go away, the pining for the past or the hunger for some bigger, better, shinier future? Someday, sooner than I realize, Evan will stop asking me to cuddle and Ben will shrink in the passenger seat when I drop him off at school in my bathrobe. And I think then, it won’t matter that I once wore shoes like this.

It won’t feel like such a shock, compared to the country life of a stay-at-home-mama—the absence of a swanky, hip job, an office with one brick wall and vanilla steamers and swanky, hipster colleagues and dinner parties and weekend mountain epics. Not measured against the shock of my children having grown to belong more to themselves than to me.

They’ll roll their eyes and I’ll shrug and say What’s so bad about socks with sandals? No one wants cold toes.

"Life moves on whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestionably. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one—even those moments spent wearing elastic-waisted 'comfy pants' with three-day-old sweet potato baby vomit on them.*"

(*slightly edited with apologies to Henry Miller)

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Shout out to Plano: Really, honestly, cross-my-heart—you are welcome here, and browsers and drifters and skimmers of all sorts.

Blogging can be tricky in the same way email can be, translating the intended tone of voice. This post came off as more melancholy than I'd intended, and more big-brothery too. Sometimes the stats jump out at you, that's all. And it's surreal to see how long it takes, to the second, for someone to absorb the most profound time of your life. But that's okay.