An uncharacteristically quiet Saturday morning in Jantz-Estes land.
Let’s see, where did everyone end up in the night? I started out with the boys. Slipped out after G fell asleep. In my own bed by midnight. Joined by John at daybreak (he’d fallen asleep in his desk office chair). About an hour later J joined us, later followed by G, at which point John and J left, leaving G and me (and a garbage truck, and Lovey). Some time later, J arrived asking where John was. “Don’t wake him up!” I whispered/implored/warned. “I’m hungry!” replied J. “I’ll be down in a minute—don’t wake up your dad!” I finally rolled myself out to find J had gotten himself some yogurt and wanted some Kix, Papa Gary style (that is, with milk).
At present, John’s asleep in Gabriel’s bed. Gabriel’s asleep in our bed. J is asking how long ’til swimming lessons and am I going to take him because I said all week I was going to take him and I didn’t and today is the last day!—that is, until he starts swimming lessons again in a week.
Wait. G’s up. I hear his big baby feet pounding to the bathroom and then the toilet lid smash against the tank. Toilet lids are remarkably solid household objects. I did not properly appreciate their utilitarian beauty until the boys began doing their part to minimize landfill fillage. I know, fillage isn’t a word, but I feel this time slipping away from me as Jonah asks, “Why does Yoda have three fingers? How do they make him look like that? How do they make the hand without showing the puppet? . . . Anyways, I love you.”
Quick report: mammoth copyediting job is finally finished, though I now face invoicing/pay upon receipt glitches (note: I am not a shrewd business woman). We are readying ourselves for the next family visit (John’s sister Beth and kids visited last, my sister Beth and kids and husband visit next). The boys and I completed a two park, two discount store walking tour yesterday while John was away with the car. Dollar water cannons and googly-eyed glasses were procured. After a week of rain, the yard is out of control. Instead of eating my cereal Papa Gary style, I’d like to mow my three yards Papa Gary style (he just got a new riding mower!).
So begins our Saturday.
Here’s my view from across the way:
Kind of amazing, right? I don’t know if the man who occupied this window seat before me noticed he had a coffee date, but I was certainly enthralled. I’m back at my mammoth copyediting job after a long weekend of great fun with crazy cousins (I include my own under that designation), the only casualties being a minor stomach bug generously shared, a general indifference to John’s backyard garden, and a smart case of contact dermatitis I’m pretty sure Jonah picked up from burying himself in sand after freezing his patutti off in Lake Erie. O, but it was fun!
Jonah started therapy camp and swimming lessons Tuesday. The former includes his “favorite object” Miss Cynthia (his intervention aid at school) and is a good bit of fun. The latter is freaking him. Though he passed Red Cross level one swimming the first time around and went through level two last summer (which he’s repeating again now), he quite a bit more anxious. It doesn’t help that swimming lessons are at 6:30 pm (he could use a good blast of Kansas summer wind); the kid chatters and shakes all over. His little bikini-clad classmates give him sweet pats on the back and look very concerned. But last night he was almost in tears, terrified he was going to drown and incessantly asking me when it was going to be over.
It is my suspicion that he’s starting to recognize that most things are harder for him than for everyone else. What he wants to be able to do doesn’t quite match up with what he’s capable of now. It hurts, for him and for me. I am one to pick up new skills easily, and—quite mistakenly—I’ve always assumed it’s that way for most people. Work hard and set your mind to a task and you’re bound to succeed. But life isn’t always like that. For some people, it’s hardly ever like that. I’m not saying in any way that Jonah is doomed for failure, but seeing him try so hard and still struggle to master a skill realigns the slant by which I see people. Frankly, I’m ashamed of the way I have settled my standards on the shoulders of pretty much everyone I love, much less meet on the street or become generally acquainted with. It’s an insidious kind of judgment that can be easily rationalized away, but it’s judgment just the same.
Once again, it’s abundantly clear that my children teach me more about mercy and love and the work of being human than I have been able to pick up in the previous thirty years of my life. If you’re serious about becoming your better self (as my friend June puts it), my advice (not that you asked for it) would be: Make love! Make babies! And then pay attention.
Somehow I ended up downstairs this morning without contacts or glasses. I have been told that I am legally blind, and while I don’t know exactly what that means, I assume it’s a technical term for you-can’t-see-worth-shit-so-don’t-drive-or-otherwise-put-yourself-or-anyone-else-in-danger-by-doing-something-that-requires-passable-vision. Does cleaning up the pee Gabriel informed me he squirted everywhere but the toilet count?
As I have been spending hours glued to my screen working on a copyediting job and my eyes haven’t quite adjusted to the unaccustomed strain (many attempts to remedy this include giant text, a dimmer screen setting, new contact solution changed out for my old standby contact solution, and glasses glasses glasses), my Monet-like blindness was actually a welcome, restful change. Because I couldn’t focus on anything farther than a foot from my face, I didn’t. Gabriel cuddled up to me on the couch, and the two of us happily drifted awake on our orange boat of a coach across the hardwood sea.
What I could see was his hair, blond curls never cut. My fingers played with them in the same way my mind was moving—a strange kind of absentminded presence. And so the day began.
That’s all I’ve got, except to say we’re still here and that I’m busy trying to bring in a little extra dough. Family comes next week and the boys are beside themselves with excitement. G makes lists of the things he wants to do/share with his cousin Molly (last night it was the Kipper episode where they go to the beach). O yes, and bubbles.