Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hugs, not hesitation


This week has given me some time.

I'm sitting on the ugly couch. Outside there are still cars competing with the cicadas. Still early enough to switch out the laundry. Time enough to organize the portable pantry that will be a sixth passenger in the car to "the island" tomorrow. Time enough to pack for five. Yet here I sit. Second guessing.

I turn my head to the far left and see a door cracked to a dark room that holds the priceless sounds of a sleeping boy. This boy, who confessed that reading wears him out. Behind moist eyes (which just turns my world upside down) he says it makes him sick. I second guess this whole school thing. This is why: when I offer him an "out" (tell the teacher that you need a break), he replies, exasperated at my ignorant attempt to intervene, "there are no breaks, she says to do my best and just keep reading". I have no say in this, only a hug to offer. I second guess a place that leaks stress into this cautious blond boy's brain. For the love!! Reading makes me tired, too! Every time I pick up a book to read lately I fall asleep! Sheesh! I want to crumple to the floor in sobs and confess back to my boy, "I know!! This life is so hard!! Let's move to Spain where they sleep away each hot afternoon and sit on the edges of fountains wearing gray slacks for the rest of the day." Instead I keep my composure and stick to the hug plan. I second guess my approach: the rift between what I do and what I feel.

This house. It has won my heart--bugs and mold and all. The creaks no longer startle--but comfort. The ones on the stairs. And those big shifting ones in our closet. I like to stand in the attic space off of the girls' room and watch out the window down at the drive and the children digging in the dirt and piling pine cones and "squirrel nuts" under the watchful arching arms of the Four Oaks. It is warm and dry in there, like a blanket offered from someone who seems always cozy and content. Someone I want to be like. I stand a little longer until I remember that next week our first chip away at this mortifygage will be swiftly drafted from the pile carefully crafted by Dr. Gooch himself and the blood, sweat and tears (though not always his own blood, sweat, and tears). This thought forces me back into the forced air chill of the main part of the house and I second guess with the close of the attic door.

In the kitchen, I sing, "go sit up, Avis!"--more for just the sound of another voice in the room than an actual request/command. And, would you know it?! The baby walked over to the table, stopped at the chair on which her blue Bumbo is perched and lifted up her little lithe body with the rise of two bouncy ball heels. I wondered to myself, what ELSE is she understanding? I peeled the foil cover off the yogurt and second guessed everything my four little ones see, hear, and feel me do and say.

This week has given me some time to realize that I am a prodigious second-guesser. I've touched on some biggies, but my days are filled with tiny little ones, too. They range in topic from makeup application to child-rearing. Driving around town to strengthening a forever marriage. I've had a few quiet (save for the Cicadas) evenings to myself and...

I decided to change.

I don't want to pass this particular gene down to my own. Heaven knows, that's the last thing my Seth needs when "Run, Dick, run" makes him feign fatigue.

Yet, tonight, on this ugly couch in this lovely home where four are tucked snug with the bugs...this is all I could come up with:

Less second guessing and more hugs. For now, this will have to do. Because Spain is really far away and the baby understands more than she lets on.



15 comments:

michelle said...

Loving that last little paragraph, Jordan.

Miss Anna B said...

Jordan,
I am Carol's friend.

This is such a beautiful and thoughtful post. It really touched me today. I second guess most days.

Thanks.

jet said...

Just beautiful.

Kurt Knudsen said...

I believe your mother second guesses.
I do not. Is it a womanly attribute?

Rebecca said...

Yes.

Ann said...

You're really great. And can't second-guessing be a good thing? It means you're on your toes, open to revelation.

Ann said...

Oh Jordan! I second-guess myself ALL the time. And Dad, Brendon hardly second-guesses himself too. Why do women do it?

Ingrid said...

You are a great mother.

TX Girl said...

Just lovely.

merathon said...

i'm glad people like you have such a way with words to make up for the people like ME who do NOT! well said, as always.

every child has things that they love and don't love to do. i can't relate to the reading issue because it's hard for me to tear my first grader AWAY from reading, but there are other things i really have to persuade her to do. so, what if reading makes his EYES tired? is it possible seth needs glasses?

Amy W. said...

mmmmm, you made me cry, really

Rachel said...

beautiful.

Jessica said...

I thought second guessing was just a part of motherhood--we don't really know what we are doing, at least I don't, so I call it 'winging it' or whatever. I think the second guessing shows that you care deeply and want to do what is right and helpful. Hugs help. Thanks for sharing.

Tasha said...

Less second guessing, and more hugs. But I think there will always be second (and in my case, third and fourth) guesses. But, more hugs always work too. The idea that the baby understands more than she lets on has paralyzed me from time to time since Evie turned one.
Do love you Jo.

amy m said...

I definitely need less second guessing myself.

lovely to read and sink your teeth into.