Just a Regular Life

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.

I smiled.

“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.”

***

1981

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.

wedding

***

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.

Playing

***

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.”

Edits-0085

Resolve! The August Edition!

I made some resolutions in January.  (Since even the word “resolutions” makes me turn and run the other way, I’ve decided to call them “Fluffies” – sounds much less daunting, eh?)

I revisited my Fluffies in July. The report card result?  NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.

So here’s a list of my (slightly later than) midyear Fluffies.

1. Read something

This one is sticking around.  I’m going to lighten up a bit though.  I’m not going to count catalogs  but I am going to count all other print media.  Because really, sometimes it takes the same amount of time to get through a dang New Yorker article as it does to get through a fluffy novel.  And since I tend to prefer my books to be of the fiction variety, a little nonfiction in the form of magazine or newspaper articles would do me some good.  I’m not going to count People though.

2. Date my husband.

I really like the guy.  He’s pretty fabulous.  But, as some wise woman once told me, when you have kids your relationship with your spouse can slide towards co-worker status.  And it does, because it kind of has to.  Heck, meeting the daily deadline of getting the family out the door in the morning takes coordination, collaboration, luck and managerial talent!  While I’m happy to have a great partner in this full-time endeavor, I don’t want to lose sight of who he is as a man, a husband and a person.  And I don’t want him to lose sight of me as a woman, a wife and a person.  Besides, if I call it “dating,” I might be motivated to put on some heels and a little perfume from my huge collection of tiny perfume bottles.

3.  Turn up the stereo.

I love music.  It is so very important to me for so many reasons.  It speaks to me.  It punctuates my life.  Most songs remind me of a place, a time, a person or all three.  Sometimes I’m happy to bop along with pop in the background, but sometimes I really want to listen to the music – to hear it.  I’m not sure how I’m going to make this happen with “Wee Sing Silly Songs” on repeat in my mom mobile – the main place I have the opportunity to listen to music – but I’m going to try to find a way to make it happen.

4. Move more

This one is hard for me.  Kudos to you mamas (and dads!) who figure out how to fit this in.  I have a lot of great excuses, and a busy life, but the movement is good for me, and good for my family if it means I will be more active, more fun, have more energy, and live longer.  I’m going to start very small.  I’m aiming for one good walk per week.  By myself.  I may have to get up at 5am to do it.  Can you already hear me whining?

I’m thinking I can knock out those four birds with one stone if I take my husband to the Y and we work out while reading and listening to music?  WIN! Okay, maybe a little overly-ambitious…