My children are so genuine in their expression and so grateful in their demeanor, it does me good to spend time with them. Today before I drive to Aberdeen for a commitment, I make them breakfast: two rashers of bacon, hardboiled eggs, slices of ripe plum. They thank me warmly as if I’d made them a feast. Later, I come home to a series of polite notes on my dining room table, letting me know of their whereabouts. I am in a minor agony over all this because they keep growing older and I keep thinking I’m supposed to be doing more than I’m doing. A warning: worry becomes habitual if you do it too much. I did my fair share for years and it’s a hard habit to loosen.
A large package arrives in the mail; Nels co-opts the sturdy cardboard box and makes a den and thus labels it: “Resting: Sandcat.” With his large mane of blonde hair and his button nose and freckles and his delicious breath (Sandcats give many kisses) I am in a small private heaven every time he climbs up near before running off again. Later, we have an argument and he retreats to his den. I put my hand in the door and he pulls it to him and purrs.
As the children grow older it seems it takes more work to feed them and a little more money to clothe them, but then again they do more of the work involved in these things. Phoenix especially is quite helpful in household work, pet care, and cooking, enough so that her father and I have to devote a little concentration to make sure Nels gets the opportunity to learn.
Yes, the children are older and I’m more settled as a mother than ten years ago – but I’m still Me, easily distracted, often unfocussed. I will suddenly realize they don’t know how to do something that I could have taught them months or years ago – not that it bothers them much; they ask to learn something when they think it will be useful to them. In this way they teach me a great deal, and I am impressed by their steadfastness.
Phoenix brings home a few new friends today and proudly gives a tour of our home and my sewing studio. The children ask after homesewn garments and Phoenix runs to me with pricing requests. I think on these and voice them aloud and Phoenix nods judiciously: “That’s a good price.” One girl, upon hearing how much I’d charge to sew up an Adventure Time Finn backpack, moans aloud, “Do you know how poor I am?” Later, I take the opportunity to talk to the children about one of the precepts in my faith tradition – “do not take what is not offered” – touched on more than once today, including how my son had opened the package delivered us even though it did not have his name on it.
It is odd to think of teaching, or leading, or imparting lessons to my children; on a daily basis I rediscover how little I know.