There are times when I am filled to bursting with hope and warmth and excitement about the future. And there are times when it is all I can do to back the car out of the garage. Or find a parking space. Or answer a simple question.
It's been a week of worry. Worry about the world (big, macro, financial, political) and worry about the personal (how will we reset Isaac's sleep routine? Is he getting enough vitamins? Does he understand that it really hurts when he pulls my hair, even if he's just playing?) And school, school, always school.
It's a mess, all of it, the accumulation of a million little decisions: some ours, some the nation's, some of genetics and environment and pure, hellish chaos.
Why is it that Isaac is easing off the elevators as he becomes even more obsessed with potties? Why is it that he can't stand to see an open window lately? And how is it that he can reason so exquisitely at times, and not at all at others?
We were watching Thomas the Tank Engine the other day, and Gordon was cross. "Isaac, do you know what cross means?" I asked casually as I smoothed lotion on his face. "Cross means mad," he replied easily. And tonight: "Isaac, do you know what panicked means?" (This in regard to an episode where Bulgy, the poor, benighted double-decker bus, is invaded by a clutch of hens). "Panicked means they made a mess," he told me. Good guess. Because panicked chickens, well, even this city girl knows they make a mess.
We took Isaac to Sonoma Train Town again yesterday. I rode the roller coaster and the ferris wheel with him, my arm clutching him close to me. I could feel him vibrate with joy, with excitement, with pure kinetic energy. It was so perfect. Afterwards, we went to get him some pizza and milk, and he and J. went to the playground while I went to a local cookware store and bought a slow cooker.
It's going to be that kind of winter, for many if not all of us. We'll need to hunker, cook at home and be a lot more careful than usual. We're going to need to simplify and stay close.
Isaac fell asleep in his car seat on the way back. The World Series droned in the background as I read recipes to J., all the things I'll make this winter. Moles and stews and chili and soups and braises. It felt real and reassuring as the sun slipped delicately below the horizon.