Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Presently Ever-Present

Ever-present, in reference to the children. I don't mean this as a sentimental nod to togetherness. I mean it in the "climbing in my lap while I pee," "tapping my hip while I cook," "clawing at my shirt as I type kind of way." We are only one week sans preschool and my independence is rocking itself back and forth in a forgotten corner.

I know I will miss these days. Even in my current delirium there are moments when it feels good. We loiter around the house like sleepy cats, doing what we want to do. I tickle Charlie right under his collar bone until he laughs so hard he can't breathe. Toby sits in my lap while I wash the caked dirt off of his feet with a rag. I love those things, I do. Lately, though, there is that "laying out in the sun was heavenly, but now I'm really blistered" factor stifling my pleasure.

Part of it is the constancy. My mental calendar unfolds into one long row of empty boxes marking the pilgrimage to Fall. The bleak highlights: Tues. Shopping at CostCo! Mon.-Thurs. Swimming Lessons! Fri. Trash Day! I see myself bumbling along, leap frogging from one mediocre affair to the next and hoping I don't drown in my own guilty ungratefulness.

The kids are just always there. Toby stalks me through the house performing interrogation torture. "How big was I when you were a baby?" "Where will we move when we grow taller than our house?" "When is my room going to catch on fire?" I answer him with logic until I realize that it is not a child I'm speaking to, but a three-foot expert on all things absurd.

"You were not born when I was a baby," I say.

"Yes I wa-as!" He says.

"If you already know, then why are you asking?"

"You are not being nice, mommy!"

Maybe I could handle the perpetual debate if Charlie wasn't in my face slapping the keyboard and honking my nose.

I feel like I'm going crazy.

"I feel like I'm going crazy!" I go ahead and yell to two people with sudden-onset indifference.

Several summers from now I'll be whisking my boys off to sleepovers and soccer games, choking on a stream of relentless action. I'll wonder when I ever had time with them. Toby will clam up like a secret agent protecting his thoughts with the conviction of Jason Bourne. Charlie will only crawl in my lap to steal the remote. When that day comes I will feel sad and nostalgic and recall only the best parts of where we are now.

But today, a little withdrawal sounds like heaven.