Monday, September 15, 2014
Bathtubs and Little Hands
A few months ago, well I really can't remember when exactly, Chris and I watched The Tree of Life. Chris knew it was a Terrance Malick film, but I can barely remember movie titles let alone director names so the meaning of that escaped me. My friend, Kathryn, wrote a beautiful post about the movie here. I could never compose anything that compares to her writing so go ahead and click on over there to read about the movie if you care to have a better description than: it was very thought provoking, and it had gorgeous imagery. I may have the capacity to check a few boxes to set up a blog, but a movie critic, I am not!
Part of the beginning of the story is told through scenes of the mother's memories of her children. The image that has perhaps moved me the most came from a short scene of the first born son taking a bath as a toddler. There is a close-up of his little hands grabbing the side of the bathtub. I was struck with tears, which doesn't normally make a scene noteworthy by my standards, but its steadfast hold in the forefront of my mind makes it just that.
The everyday quality of that image, little hands grabbing the side of the bathtub, grabbed my heart. I knew memories of my little boys' hands splashing could so easily slip through the cracks between the easily remembered first days of school, graduations and weddings. It was a challenge of sorts. Hey, Katrina! Look past your view of bath time as the long awaited gateway to bedtime! Remember those short, stubby fingers!
It was a much needed challenge, reminder, whatever I'll call it. I'm going to try to write more about the ordinary moments. The ones where things are not necessarily a struggle or fantastic. The ones that are easy to forget. The ones that are, at times, so boring it's a little sweet. After all, this blog's name does come from St. Thérèse of Lisieux's quote, "The sun shines equally on both the cedars and on every tiny flower." I'm don't want to sugarcoat them, although it's me so flowery descriptions will inevitably find ways to sprout up. Sorry! But really, I don't want to make the ordinary extraordinary. I just want to see the glory in the ordinary, if that makes sense. I just want to be able to look back and read about those terribly normal moments.
So here is my first whack at it. This past Saturday morning was greatly ordinary.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
The morning did start out a little rough with cries coming from the baby awoken by his brother that so desperately needs sleep, but who inconveniently so detests sleep. For once, my phone wasn't within arms reach and like the millenial that I am, our bedroom lacks a working clock. Judging from the light starting to seep through the slits of the blinds and into our room, I knew that soon enough the clock in their room would turn green, and Ryan would burst out of that room like a whole barrel of marshmallows lay on the other side. Hot chocolate and marshmallows have replaced popsicles as the bribe of the day to get us home after our daily walks to campus. But really, being awake at a wee hour is a barrel of marshmallows for that kid. I suppose he was born at 4:58am.
I decided to hop to it and made my tally for being out of bed before the kids woke me up two and a half for the week - a record as of late. Today I only get a half because Conor was the rooster's crow this morning, and I fervently hope that one day I'll have the discipline to not have my children be alarm clocks. I think if I squint I can see that day on the horizon, but there seems to be mountain blocking my path, a mountain called Must Go to Bed at a Decent Hour. Brushing my teeth was the only thing I was able to check off my list before Ryan came bounding out of their room, "MOM! The c-wock is green!" All of his energy was channeled into a squeezer of a hug around my legs. I plucked the babe out of his pack 'n' play, slid my hand into Ryan's, and walked to the kitchen to scrounge up some breakfast.
A few blinks later, both boys were perched in front of cereal, which really is just a means to let the hungry clamor dull a bit until second breakfast. One boy's eyes almost crisscross as he concentrates on not letting the milk drip-drop from his spoon; the other deftly and delicately becomes a lobster and one by one, his thumb and first finger play feed the baby. I hired breakfast to be the babysitter and got all swept up shooing dust bunnies from under the couch with my too-often-neglected broom. Sorry, Broom. At least you have Mr. Dustpan to keep you company? This music was playing.
Conor kept giving me his latest look of ever so slightly pursed lips and mischievous eyes. (See above photo). Ryan had ditched the last bits of breakfast and was proclaiming that he was going to throw my poor-attempt-at-decorating-and-thrifted faux eucalyptus branches into my also thrifted faux tree. I ignored him and started cleaning out the fridge, and then set up shop to chop peppers as prep for future chili. Ryan held up a jalapeño, "Mom. What's dis called? It's a jalapeño?" Soon Conor made it known that he was ready to get down from his chair. I sweep again. I realized that getting up even a minute before the boys makes me weirdly productive at tending to our nest. Conor started playing his favorite instrument - the door stop. Boing, boing, boing. Chop, chop, chop. "Mom. What's dis called? A jalapeño?" Chop, chop, chop. Boing, boing, boing. Both were in diapers by this point.
Time sped up as Chris walked in, Conor went down for a morning nap and second breakfast was upon us. I tried out a new-to-me waffle recipe, and I guarded the stiff egg whites that the Ryan insisted were whipped cream. Waffles well under way, the baby woke up, and I nursed him while finishing up cooking. Then waffles were plopped onto plates, Conor plopped into the high chair, and the Pioneer Woman was lauded again.
The morning was finished off with hunting for clean clothes in a dirty laundry jungle , singing along to "Say My Name" and accepting Ryan's offer to dance once he was impressed with my Destiny Child lyrical knowledge. "Let's dance on the carpet, Mom!" We clasped hands and hopped around while nodding our heads off-beat.
You were a good one, Saturday morning. You were a dimpled hand grabbing a bathtub.