to remember

The boys sit together at the kitchen counter before school, pancakes with syrup and blueberries, banter about the upcoming field trip.
I pack Tucker's lunch, peanut butter sandwich, pretzel sticks and strawberries, his red Angry Bird water bottle, a small piece of chocolate.

I wave him off with the group at the corner.  Inside again, I nurse Hank and watch Tolliver play out a very tragic scenario with rescue vehicles.

Several ripe bananas call for bread, and while Tollie helps stir in honey and avocado and eggs, Hank jumps in the doorframe nearby.

On the counter are spent zinnia blooms drying in the sun, and dirty dishes piling up in the sink.

I move Hank to a big quilt on the floor, and although it no longer really works to contain him it does occasionally catch drool. Tols, dressed as Spiderman and eliciting big laughs, reports for burp up duty. They play while I answer the oven timer, reheat my coffee, move laundry through.
In the basement, Tollie builds a "table" with wooden blocks, and requests his favorite, a plate with fruit and nuts and cheese.  I serve him there and eat yogurt and granola on the floor next to him.

After lunch we walk to preschool, Hank in the carrier, facing out, Tolliver in step beside us.  I plant a firm kiss atop sweaty red hair as he enters the classroom.  And then I keep going, a few miles for my own sake, always just one walk away from an even better mood.

Hank and I collect the big boys from both schools.  They eat popcorn from small baggies and wander around the yard.  I nurse the baby and sip cold coffee and scroll through emails.
Andy texts to ask about the day, and because the hospital sucks him in before sunrise and spits him out at dusk, I try, always, to share the highlights: Hank tried the baby swing at the playground!  Tucker multiplied thirteen times three in his head!  

The boys fight with foam swords and hit a few balls with a new bat before we head to Tuck's piano lesson.  There, my hands under Hank's arms and his toes pressed into my thighs, he bounces to the music.  Tollie looks through a large stack of books in the chair next to us.

Home again, all three boys need baths.  Hank goes first, and then naps in his crib while the big boys clean up.  Even after soap on their skin and suds through their hair, the Ts have dirty toes.  I give up, towel them off, send them to get dressed.  Their interpretation of that direction usually just means underwear.  We're working on that.
It's cereal for dinner, with sliced watermelon and a side of Neil Gaiman's Fortunately the Milk.  Tuck devours all three.

I load the dishwasher and listen.  I hear Tollie digging through the Lego bin, still looking for a small, black Batman figure head.  Tucker is reading to Hank, propped together on the couch, Bus Stops and Dear Zoo.

We brush teeth and the big boys climb into clean sheets.
I do X marks the spot on Tolliver's back, closing my eyes and letting go of the day.
Most of it, anyway.  There are parts I want to hang on to.

Today was a good one.  Most of them are.
We live a generally happy, joyful life, not every minute of every day, but certainly on a path that points in that direction.
And when I'm old and I look back, that's what I want to see.

I have experience with praying to remember, became exquisitely familiar with the idea a few years ago, as Celia faded.
I practiced again tonight.


Christen said...

You did intentionally edit out the screaming, crying, arguing, complaining and fighting, right?!!!! Do you seriously ever have a day like this? If so, we're trading kids for awhile....THIS weekend!!!!!!!!

Poppy John said...

Funny post...AND I love funny posts!
Keep in mind...Andy potentially has access to "calming" drugs...not that he and Jenni would ever give them to their children...just sayin'.

Poppy John

Andy and Jenni said...

Christen, not every day is worth remembering, and we do ride the struggle bus more than I'd like to admit. No reason to record that for posterity ;) But yesterday was a win, and I want to remember the good stuff.

Kristy G said...

"one walk away from an even better mood" - LOVE THIS. SO TRUE.

It's important to document the good stuff, the small 2 second moments, because really its the little things that count.