4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
I’ve been thinking about marriage lately. It may be the spring weather (finally), the birds looking for love in all the wrong places, mating for life and so on.
I think it’s the time in my life too, or our collective lives really. Among our friends our kids are mostly all in school (and by school I don’t mean clown school or college, I mean pre-school) and our parents are aging, looking to move, getting the scan or the X-ray or the biopsy. Some have even passed. We are the next “big” then, the next big mortal, permeable, vulnerable thing.
And I began thinking about marriage, how it’s so often like breathing or an old car or not throwing up. It’s one of those things that you’re really not all that grateful for, at least not until it’s jeopardized, by illness or disregard, or made more precious by the proximity to someone else’s marriage being jeopardized by whatever jeopardizes marriage.
Then I got to thinking about how much energy and emotional capital is wasted on the petty things, the nagging about the fact that he opens a new jar every time he needs a condiment; jelly, mayonnaise, peanut butter, salsa (oh my god, the rows of opened salsa…) How I treat my friends, the barista and people I’ve just met with the utmost of deference and polite gratitude, but sometimes I’m just too embroiled in the self-created mayhem to do the same for those I love most.
Because somehow in the nitty gritty of every day, the chores and the folding and the driving and the bill-paying or whatever, it’s so easy for us to forget. The things we value fall to the bottom of our purse like loose change or a diamond engagement ring, all covered with sticky dust from smashed Oreos and crushed Crayons.
Wednesday night was date night. Wednesday night is always date night. It’s a night for dressing up a bit, getting a sitter for a couple hours and going somewhere where the entrees aren’t too pricey and they pour a mean glass of wine (and by mean, I mean big.) We went someplace new and talked about the kids or work or our days, like we always do. We held hands and he gave me more bites of his far better meal than I deserved (for ordering so poorly myself.)
As we headed to the car we noticed the light outside. The sun was only now beginning to set. And as we looked at the time we realized the unthinkable; it was too early to go home because the kids were definitely not asleep yet.
So we stopped by the river deli near the town landing, the one with the excellent cookies, just as the proprietor was locking the door. With an imploring look and a jiggle of the handle we gained entry and a paper bag filled with cookies. Down to the beach where the parking lot goes right up to the sand, we drove. And we parked and listened to the mix my husband had made me of all the new music he thinks I’ll like. It’s been stored on our joint Spotify account under the name “Jen Playlist- Listen in Time”. I had never thought to look for it.
We talked about nothing important that I remember, but maybe everything important happens in those moments. We may have even held hands some more.
Once the sun had nearly set, we drove home, past the marshes and the weathered beach houses. As we rounded the bend I saw the wind turbines in the distance and they took my breath away. These two massive structures, buried in the ground side by side, were turning perfectly in sync for a moment, parallel and pointing to the sky. It was like watching the Olympic ice dancers in a flawless twizzle, razor sharp blades spinning so close to soft flesh, utterly aligned. Magic.
It seems an impossible thing to be that in sync, or at least a rarity. It’s the flash and dazzle and take-your-breath-away moment for sure.
But maybe even more stunning are those two turbines, standing sentries keeping watch over the tides, the moonrise, the wind. Side by side they stand, regardless of the synchronicity of their blades, rooted in place together, weathering the crazy storms, the snowfall, those windless days in July. Two ageless giants, united in Tadasana, the mountain pose, sometimes synchronized, mostly just silent partners, like an old married couple, late in life, on date night; enduring, steadfast, everlasting, beloved.