Living Room

I have these waves of beyond-exhaustion that come and go. Life is not easy at the moment, but it there is much to be grateful. I am bone-tired but also exhilarated; a nearly bottomless fount of creative energy, and a lot of wonderful support from my community. We have our health. Ralph’s job is going well, and the kids are thriving. We’ve got Christmas handled but that said, it’s always a challenge for me to pace myself during such an intense time of the year.

I’m in the grocery store with my youngest (did I mention the kids’ appetites have us cooking and cleaning even more than usual?) and he’s looking at tinned soups and turning around to read the labels. Every goddamned thing has egg white or milk powder. He’s sad because he wanted this Tomato Rotini soup. And I tell him, “I can make you some by using that – ” pointing at the tomato basil can ” – and cooking some pasta.” His eyes light up and he is so joyous. He is so happy I can do this thing for him.

“Mom, you’re a queen. You’re the best chef I personally know.” He puts his arms around me in the kitchen. He smells like sun-warmed straw; his neck is warm and his voice warmer. I make up an extra bowl for the oldest, who glides downstairs to silently eat at the table, taciturn with the ubiquitous headphones in his ears. Phoenix is my dark moon to Nels’ bright sun. Both children are so glad for even the smallest bit of nurture I can provide. So I tell myself that no matter how sad I get and no matter what bullshit comes my way, I have invested in something very worthwhile indeed.