The house is quiet except for the whir of the air conditioning. My mom has taken the children for the night, Phil is still at work, and Katie, our live-in help, has flown to Washington to find a wedding dress with her mom. It's one of those rare moments when the house is my own and I can play my Celtic music loudly. I'm not responsible to feed anyone but myself, and as Phil is going out with Mike Posey for dinner, I'm looking forward to the long evening alone.
There's rejuvenation brought about through the company of other women. And there's rejuvenation through good food and rest and stretching. But the rejuvenation in being alone is entirely different. It's why I set my alarm for six on Saturdays and Sundays. It's those sweet moments of silence in the house before I hear the toilet flush and our bedroom door open, before Mary Poppins starts to play in the living room or a squabble breaks out over what items may be brought to the upper bunk.
Quiet. Stillness. Solitude.
Perhaps it is all the more sweet because it is so rare. Even when both children were at school, I would buzz from one activity to the next, attempting to accomplish as much as I could in the short hours that I had. That was not rest. But this is. I've got to keep off my feet. I've got to keep the contractions from coming. At least until tomorrow when I'll be 37 weeks and the baby is no longer considered premature.
I will use the time to remember and record.
In the garden the corn is growing over our heads. I dust the silks with the tasseled tops every few days to pollinate the corn. We've also got green beans and sweet peas that the children snack on before meals. The other day the two cronies were sitting beneath the tall bush beans' canopy while seeking out the pods. They also graze on the baby fennel and the mint. I can smell them when they walk in the kitchen door.
The backyard has become a dust bowl thanks to Lee and Bigwig's activity. Bigwig pushes the dirt out from his burrow, and Lee clears it away to load his dump trucks or make mud slides or pile it on top of the cement pad. Phil helped me switch the compost and rabbit hutches' positions in the backyard so that the yellow slide can fit back there, making room for our summer pool in the courtyard. The slide, however, has become a new surface to pile dirt. That boy comes inside covered in a film of dust. He would much rather take hole digging classes than Hip-Hop/Jazz classes.
I had to tear him away from his digging project last Tuesday to wipe him down for his and Rose's first dance performance at the Whittier Community Center. The children were not too certain about being dropped off in a new place with no familiar faces in order to do something that they only partially understood. I suppose I don't blame them.
Rose was jazzed about her lipstick and princess ponytail and powdered face. In fact, she got ready an hour earlier only asking for my assistance when she blew baby powder in her eye thinking that's what I meant by "We're going to put powder on your face." Lee was another story. In true Latapie fashion, he wore a black shirt backwards to hide the graphic. Two safety pins held up his pants and I'd colored the rubber edges of his shoes black with a sharpie. I thought he wouldn't be able to tell the difference but he was definitely worried about taking off his red blazer in the humid backstage lest someone see the surfing macaroni graphic on the back.
Phil and I watched a few dozen dancers perform: tap, jazz, contemporary, ballet. Each time a teacher led a row of tiny dancers onto the stage under cover of the blue stage lights, I teared up. Must be the pregnancy hormones; however, an elderly lady in the restroom told me, "No, that's just being a mom."
Lee and Rose danced to "Move Your Feet" for not more than 5 minutes during which the audience was in stitches and I was in hysterical tears. Lee stood there like a deer in the headlights and Rose flapped her hands around until the lights went out and Rose convinced Lee to get into their final pose. The house lights came on one more time to show off their pose before the stage went dark again. Phil turned to me while the audience applauded, "Well, our kids are good at other things."
True. They're good at inventing games. They're good at playing together. They're good at helping each other clean up their spaces before dinner. They're good at identifying plants. They're good at sleeping all night. They're good at eating their vegetables. They're good at listening to long stories and sitting for longish car rides. They're good at holding their breath under freeway overpasses. They're good at quoting Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and The Boxcar Children and The Trumpet of the Swan. They're good at kissing my tummy and asking questions about the baby. They're good at folding their clothes and putting them in their drawers. They're good at buckling themselves into the car and climbing trees. They're good at hugging me goodbye, which is a new development of late, and they're good at forgiving after bickering.
We'll soon see how good they are at being the big kids in the house.