This is dedicated to a dear friend who recently E-mailed me lamenting having not taken good photos of an important event in her family. When I responded, I reminded her that the special events are not what make up the best part of life, it is the little things – and in doing so, reminded myself of the same.
It’s a cold rainy day, and I have a pot of beans simmering on the stove. This morning my oldest son almost missed the bus and my youngest is here by my side, either home sick or pretending to be sick – I still haven’t figured it out.
My husband is at work, just another day in an endless stretch towards a retirement in the unknown future, something that is uncertain at best, and definitely not promised in this unpredictable life. I vaguely remember his lips on my cheek as I slept, but Carlos was out the door before the sun stretched its sleepy fingers above the horizon. My husband texts me after he clocks in, while I am still warm in the blankets of our bed, his side of the sheets chilly in his absence. Every morning he writes the same, “Buenos dias mi princesa. Dormiste bien?”
And every morning I blindly reach for the phone that I know sits in the darkness on my desk beside the bed, the screen blurry to my still sleepy eyes, smile and reply, “Buenas mi rey, bien y tu?” (Regrettably my phone does not allow Spanish accents, so you will have to forgive the grammar mistakes.)
I will spend the day doing anything I can find to delay writing even though writing is what I want to do most, and then, having visited and re-visited every distraction possible, I will eventually open up a document and write. Once I begin, I won’t want to stop. I’ll kick myself for not having started first thing in the morning. I will feverishly try to get just one more sentence onto the page before I hear the sound of my husband’s keys in the door, or the rumble and screech of the bus bringing the children home.
Evenings are spent squaring away homework, adding today’s mail to the stack of unpaid bills, the voices of noticias en español from the living room mixed with the simmering and sizzling of cooking in the kitchen – these familiar sounds of home, I imagine, are being sewn into the very fabric of my children’s souls.
If it isn’t too chilly or wet I may force the kids outside to kick the fútbol around before the sun goes down. If I can leave something safely cooking without direct supervision needed, I may sit in the hammock and watch them. Sometimes my youngest son will pick me a flower, sometimes Carlos will turn off the television and join us for awhile, but eventually the chill in the air and hunger in our stomachs can no longer be ignored, and we go back inside.
Dinner is eaten, stories about our day are shared, books are read, teeth are brushed, children are put into bed asking to stay up just a little bit longer – but the day is almost done, and Carlos and I have yet to spend a minute alone, (besides a stolen kiss which was interrupted by someone asking for help with their Algebra.)
The night gets darker, the streets get quiet. We stay up an hour or two later than when we actually could have easily fallen asleep and promise ourselves to get into bed earlier tomorrow. Lights are turned off, and we fall asleep – sometimes feeling like we should have done more somehow, or that something is missing … Other times we realize that days like these make up the best part of life. Some nights we fall asleep knowing that, should we be so blessed and lucky, these are the days that we will close our eyes and want to savor one last time in our final years – if only our memories remain intact.