I want a cup of tea.
Not herbal. The real stuff. With milk and sugar.
And I want someone to make me popovers.
Which I will eat warm with a little butter and cinnamon sugar.
I want someone to wash my duvet cover and then put it back on my comforter. Because if we’re honest with each other, that is a four-person job.
I want a week to declutter, shuffle and reshuffle, purge (stuff, not vomit – though both usually make you feel better), think about writing something, nap.
I want dinner to be done, meals planned. But really, I want to do that stuff myself.
I want a bedside clock for my husband that isn’t the brightest clock on the planet.
I want the socks paired.
Oh the socks.
I want not to worry about the four RSVPs, camps, birthday party to plan.
I want to be grateful that I have parties, camps, birthday parties to worry about.
I want new work shoes that I don’t have to break in.
I want to use the hours between 8:30pm and 10:30pm wisely at least once a week.
I want to figure out how on earth to spend more time being and less time doing.
I want to cook every day. Walk every day. Sleep more. Pick up less. Read to my kids more. Explore more. Love more. Give more. Fight more for the things I think are worth fighting for. And sit on a blanket on the grass in the sun.
I want to spend more time doing silly and creative things, and less time wondering what could have possibly spilled on the floor to make it that sticky. I want more time with my kids. I want more time with my husband. I want more time by myself.
I want more time having grown-up conversations. With wine. I want more music in my house. I want less dust. I want my kids to eat less yogurt.
I want more dancing in my life.
And I want the thank you notes to write themselves.
A few of my recent favorites…
“It is not all a pleasure, although there are many moments of pleasure. It is not all fun even though there are plenty of fun moments. It’s that all those moments, whether a pleasure or a pain add up to something. It’s an exhausted, messy kind of happiness, like finally crawling up the stairs to bed at night and seeing them sleeping, breathing slowly, their soft little fingers twitching in a dream.”
This speaks to me as a parent, and just as a person. All our moments add up to something. They add up to a life.
2. This Side Table. I have no idea why I love this, but I do. It won’t go with anything in my house, but I don’t think I care. (There is a good chance I just used my husband’s credit card to order it. It was on sale! Merry Christmas to me!)
3. These customized library totes for kids by SixpencePress. Because I am a big dork. I’m contemplating getting these for my 3 dumplings for Christmas. We love books. And we love our library. They’ll be psyched about getting a personalized tote bag instead of a My Little Pony, or 2.5 foot tall Imaginext Ultra T-Rex, right? Who needs toys when you’ve got totes?!
4. My final favorite is this quote by Charlie Chaplin:
You need power only when you want to do something harmful. Otherwise, love is enough to get everything done.
You tell ’em, Charlie.
(As always, links are for your convenience. None of them are affiliate links.)
My children love to play with my iPhone. This is a normal kid thing, I’m sure. They mostly like to play games. Pickle likes the build-a-robot game and Plum prefers a game with a loud annoying monkey. (Which reminds me that I should delete the annoying loud monkey game.) Pistachio likes pushing the button until Siri asks him what he wants.
The other morning Plum was using the camera mode in a Toca Boca game. She was having so much fun demanding that we “SAY CHEESE!” that I switched the phone over to camera mode and let her have at it.
I adore the results.
The is something so lovely and refreshing seeing the world, her world, through her eyes, and at her level. Coming soon to a gallery near you…
When Pickle was 3.5 we got him a camera for Christmas, but it was a silly, unwieldy, children’s camera. I should have sprung for the real thing. I think this Christmas Plum will get her own.
One spring evening, cuddled up together under my down comforter, I asked Pickle what he wanted to be when he grew up, what kind of life he wanted to have.
“Just a regular life,” he replied, as if my question was a little silly.
Just a regular life.
“You mean like the life we have now?” I asked. He nodded.
Several years ago I asked my husband what kind of bird he would be if he could be any bird at all.
“A robin,” he answered, without hesitation, “or a blue jay. Just a regular bird.”
I didn’t believe him. I couldn’t believe him.
“A robin? Just like a regular, run-of-the-mill robin? You wouldn’t want to be a hawk, or an eagle, or something interesting like a penguin or an ostrich? A heron?”
“No,” he shook his head, “just a robin.”
We met in nursery school. Though I can’t honestly say that I remember him. I remember the swing set and missing a step and rolling my ankle. And I have vague, watercolor memories of making art projects, perhaps Easter bonnets, in a bright sun-filled room.
We went to high school together. I sat behind him in Ms. Zaffer’s 9th grade science class. He teased me, and wore bright striped shirts that were too big for him. In college he called me, very much out of the blue, and perhaps under the influence of some adult beverages. We dated. Then we didn’t. But he still agreed to come to my 5th college reunion with me.
And when we ducked into the parking garage by the grad school to escape a torrential downpour I looked at him and I knew. I knew that I would marry him.
And I did, a few years later in the same church that housed our preschool.
Of course he wanted to be a robin. He is a robin.
I had dated hawks, dodos, kiwis. I had lusted after eagles and peacocks. But I married a robin. My robin.
My robin who is humble and kind. My robin who is responsible and loving. My robin whose goal has never been fame, or attention, or fortune, but instead just to lead a good and regular life. Spending time with his family, loving his kids, mowing the lawn, going to work, going to church, paying bills, cooking dinner, playing catch, changing diapers, reading magazines. Learning, laughing, doing.
A few weeks ago, at an event, a childhood acquaintance who I hadn’t seen in at least a decade complimented me on my handsome (baby-holding) husband, much the way someone would compliment me on a new sports car or a trophy wife. I laughed, a bit uncomfortably, but agreed. “He is tall and handsome,” I conceded. But, I thought to myself, he is so much more.
“Just a regular life,” I repeated to Pickle. He smiled, his nose with new spring freckles crinkled.
He is five. I had expected him to tell me that he wanted to be a Superhero or a Transformer, or to lead some sort of fantastical life.
But he is his father’s son. A little robin who is content to live a life of kindness, loving other people, being a normal kid, doing normal kid things, and snuggling with his mom on a spring night.
“Do you know what kind of job you want?” I asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
He thought. “A cowboy,” he said, “and a dad.”
I kissed his forehead.
“That sounds like a very good plan to me,” I said. “And I think you’ll be a really great dad.”
1. My kids wear their shoes on the wrong feet ALL OF THE TIME. I always tell them, but I don’t usually make them switch them if they don’t want to.
2. I dislike the word “cray” (meaning crazy). The Brits and Aussies (Kiwis, too) are really good at slang. “Bro, this Chrimbo, I’m going to slap some shrimp on the barbie for brekkie before we open prezzies, s’truth!” (Okay, I probably butchered that a bit, but a basic translation would be “This Christmas I’m going to grill shrimp for breakfast before we open gifts.”) Cockney slang takes things to a whole amazing other level. Americans? We’re just not as good at slang.
3. I could eat Russell Stover pectin jellybeans until my tongue bled. I’m not proud of this.
4. I thought my brie and Juicy Juice dinner was awful. Then I got sick, for quite some time. I lost my appetite and most of my sense of taste. So dinner a few weeks ago was croutons. Out of the bag. Because I couldn’t taste much. We needed to go food shopping. And they were crunchy. And there. And I was tired. And I wanted to go to sleep, but I was supposed to eat something with my meds, and stay upright for at least 10 minutes (weird, instruction, right?).
5. Rare moment of parenting genius? Buying my 4-year-old son a DUSTBUSTER for Christmas. He and his sister love it. They can carry it, it is noisy, and exciting. They cruise around the house, dustbuster at the ready, looking for “yuckies” to suck up into its whirling vortex. And when they suck up something they shouldn’t (there was a dollar bill on the floor?) we can simply open the DB up, and retrieve the item. And I never have to yell “Shut that thing off already!” because it is rechargeable, and needs to be plugged back in after 30 minutes of hunting yuckies. $40 very well spent. Thanks, Santa.
Happy Friday, and happy Spring! Bring on the mud and daffodils!
PS – Not affiliate links, just for your convenience.
It is 9:30pm. My family is sleeping.