this morning we baked (our slightly adapted version of) elana’s chocolate prune bars. while they were in the oven we packed up our backpacks with a few things so we could head out on a walk. the kids each had a bowl of just peas while we waited for the timer to ring. then we headed out. i have learned finally, after almost six years, that going for a walk with the kids doesn’t feel anything like what i think a walk is. i am making peace with it.
the bean carried with him one drawing book, one package of crayons, one usborne ocean book, one silly putty in egg and his water bottle. the pea carried the same but no book and two silly putty’s. i carried a drawing book and crayons, my knitting project, a blanket, my water bottle, pistacio’s, cut up apples, dried mango, a few wipes, a pack of the berry ricola (for emergencies only) and my phone. we walked a short ways and then they asked to set up our blanket to rest. they asked for nibble bites. we sat and snacked, the bean looked at this book, they took out their silly putty and played with it. castle james and one of my mom’s dogs had followed us and they worked at exploring the woods that surrounded the field we sat in and circling back to check in with us. it is a warm day with a breeze and it felt idyllic to sit there. quiet. outside. surrounded by mostly nothing. we didn’t draw, i didn’t knit, we just kind of sat there happy.
last night while i was getting dinner ready both kids were deep in the when, where why’s. that constant battery of questioning that seems to happen so frequently now. “when is gran gran coming in from the barn? when is she going to her friends house? why is she going to her friend’s house? what are we having for dinner? what is in that pot? what was that noise? when will that be ready? when will gran gran come in from the barn? where is she going tonight? why is she going somewhere? what are we doing tomorrow?” sometimes they just cycle through the same three questions over and over. sometimes i answer them, sometimes i say “i wonder…” or “i don’t know…” sometimes i say, “please stop asking me questions!” last night i looked at the clock and it was 5:06. i said, “i am not going to talk until the clock has the numbers 5, 1 and 0. when you see those numbers on the clock i will speak again but until then i need to be silent.”
i kept cooking. they stared at the clock and talked about what numbers they saw. i waited for the moment someone was going to whine at me that they needed me. i waited for the moment that they started to have a fight and i had to break my silence to help them work it. i waited for my strange and unplanned attempt at a moment of peace to be rudely interrupted. but it held. then it was 5:11 and they noticed and i said, “let’s try for 5, 1, 5.” they did that too. they talked to each other but let me stay quiet. i breathed. i cooked chickpea saffron soup. i drank my peppermint water. at 5:15 i shelved my need for silence and dove back in.
on the walk today the bean is asking me questions about biting ants and needs to hold my hand. we meander down the sandy path in the south carolina woods. the pea is stomping along confidently and grabs his other hand. she assures him we are safe and he pads along between us. a few moments later she gets her small feet tangled up in a branch on the path, he holds tightly to her hand so she doesn’t fall. “good save bean,” she thanks him, “good save!” my heart swells in my chest. the breeze blows gently past us.
its funny this life spent with my children. where my whole days revolve around them. where the moments rise and fall from adoration and heart breaking happiness through irritation and near insanity. and how every morning we snuggle up in bed when we first wake up and that is how i find my way to doing it all again.