Last night the whole town of Soldotna came to hear all its musicians play an “evening of classics.” A guy that comes to my yoga class was a professional thespian in NYC before moving to our humble river town. He sang “Stars” from the play Les Miserables, and, oh my gosh, you could literally live in one of his notes. It was like this big, bassy, undulating bubble; I can’t believe such things come from throats.
But it was my very own husband whose saxophone prowess stole the show. He played a sassy tango by Astor Piazzolla and made all the little ladies swoon.
If that wasn’t enough, he also played the guitar. Check him out and tell me you don’t feel like dancing:
It’s taken me awhile to understand that most change is not instantaneous—that change can actually consist of a huge pocket of time in which one does not feel like her former self, or her future self, but instead feels like the self that lives between the two. The changing self. And so it is with motherhood. It is a slower change than I expected, but recently there have been two otherwise insignificant moments when the change seems to be finishing its job and I find time stays still and serves up the lovely cocktail of peace, joy, and gratitude that comes with being a mom.
Both moments have to do with food. For the first, I was cutting Clara’s chicken. I finally figured out I need to take her food off the stove four minutes before ours and cut it into 1/2” pieces so it cools faster. I have started to put Clara’s food on her kid plates. Knowing how she likes her chicken—the temperature and the size—and setting the table with a third, special miniature plate make me feel like I am exactly the right person for exactly this moment. I’m starting to think peace is nothing more than timeliness, being the right person at the right time.
Then, today I put the extra pretzels and some rice Chex and some raisins and some peanuts together in a Ziploc bag, and I packed this with some grapes for a snack at our first high school football game as a family. That I imaginatively cobbled snack mix from forgotten cupboard items, that I sliced some grapes in half for Clara, that we were going to a football game—this, right now, is perfect. I have dreamed dreams of motherhood and they were about homemade snack mix.
I also want to one day pack a thermos with hot apple cider and one with hot chocolate and bring a couple big blankets and sit together on bleachers and cheer for students we care about in a town we love. I don’t particularly like football, but I like that it’s in the Fall, that people ring cow bells for their favorite player, that the high school kids I’ve met this semester try to get a smile out of Clara, and that I recognize the announcer’s voice from our church.
It was a fun day, and I’ll tell you the only thing you need at a football game to entertain a 1.5 year old is a hill and other people’s trash. For a full quarter, Clara insisted on cleaning up people’s trash for them. She would pick up empty water bottles, popcorn bags, and Styrofoam plates and walk them to the yellow trash can like a determined little environmentalist of whom any mom would be proud.
If she spent the third quarter picking up trash, then she spent the fourth quarter running up and down the same hill:
Besides picking up trash and working her quadriceps, Clara is spending some time on her potty. She likes to eat graham crackers and read books and kick her feet while she chats me up as I sit on the bathtub and ask her every five seconds to take another swig of water just so I can redefine “exuberance” at the sound of her first tinkle.
She also likes to gather her sippy cups unto herself, stacking them in her arms, systematically placing them on the coffee table while she reads so she can alternate between juice, water, and milk with Lyle the Crocodile. Lunch is not lunch without at least three plastic, liquid-filled friends.
As always, thanks for reading:)