Thursday, September 21, 2017

Longer than a Blink, Yet Faster than We Think

Andrew and I wander the yard holding plastic bags. He points out dog poop when he sees it, which is not as often as I do. I scoop it into a bag and carry it until we find more. When a bag is full, I tie it, and Andrew proudly deposits it by the garage door. Our task is made more difficult by the brown oak leaves all over the ground. This is Andrew's first time recognizing the change of seasons, and he says "Uh-oh" every time a leaf falls.

I hope we won't discover any poop the hard way today.

His help is a bit nerve-wracking, but I try to embrace it, realizing that it's good for him, and that someday getting him to help won't be this easy. I think back to when little Margaret thought it was fun to scrub toilets, and Jack made our bed with hospital corners each morning. These days, I slip out of the sheets, damp from night sweats, and leave the bed unmade to air out. Margaret hasn't cleaned a toilet in a decade. I leave the extra bags in the garage and wonder if I've prepared her at all for adulthood. Those preschool days seem like yesterday.

We enter the house,and I expect the aroma from the crock pot to delight me. Instead, the house smells terrible. Another dinner fail? Certainly not worth cutting celery at 7 am, I think.

From the adjoining room I hear "Uh-oh" and enter quickly enough to see Andrew pointing at dog diarrhea sprayed and pooled on our carved wool rug, trailing off onto the cover of Andrew's favorite book. He knows we've been on poop patrol, but this is no job for a baby. I scoop him by the waist to deposit him in his little chair and say, "Stay," as I would to one of the dogs. Just as I'm trying to figure out which dog is afflicted, Shadow starts vomiting. Another "Uh oh" and pointing from Andrew. I tell him I'm not quite sure how to approach this mess, but if he stays in his chair, he can watch Little Einsteins while I figure it out.

What I see is neither a solid nor a liquid. I dive in, and do the best that I can, grateful for rubber gloves.

The fact is not lost on me that in a fit of optimism and/or stupidity I'd ordered a WHITE SHAG rug for my office just the night before. Something about a quiet house at 11pm made me think that the world of HGTV or Pinterest could me mine. Even as I pressed ORDER, I knew it was likely a mistake, but I did it anyway. Did I  hope that making my beloved office cozier and more chic would jump start my writing again? That bare feet on a soft rug would somehow garner me the time and creativity to put words to paper? I hadn't been in that room for weeks, except to set up a laundry drying rack in the corner. Now I realize I'll have to close the door at all times, to keep the dogs, their hair, and their funk out, and I wonder if I'll spend time in there at all, the beautiful room that birthed Rare Bird.

I know Tim will be annoyed when he hears about the diarrhea and vomit. He'll toss the dogs outside, as if they will be able to equate evening exile with early afternoon grossness. With a sweep of his arms, he'll say maybe we shouldn't have rugs in the house at all. That rugs are disgusting. I'll agree, and hope that that exact moment is not when the delivery truck pulls up with my new shag.

I've never been one to get too riled up about messes, or when things break. My mom used to say, "Everything has a life," and I've interpreted that as nothing lasts forever, and that it's okay. It applies to the material as well as the those things we cannot touch. Who knows if the new rug will outlast the our dear dogs, or vice versa? I do know these days of traipsing around the yard with Andrew will not last forever. Stopping to look at ants, pointing at airplanes, waiting for the mail man and school bus to arrive are distinctly toddler occupations. In the not too distant future, I'll have more time to write, to sit in my office, to think. When I look ahead, it may seem far off, but I know that the warp-speed of life I've experienced up until now will not change.

After all, I wouldn't have believed another fall had come so soon, if today I had not felt the leaves crunch under my feet.





11 comments:

Susie - Walking Butterfly said...

Yep you are still a writer. It is still deep insid eyou brewing for the right moment. Like this post, the right words about gross stuff but so beautiful! That takes some talent!

Pat said...

Despite the poop and puke it sounds like a good day and great introspection. Such beautiful words you wrote, and I needed them tonight.

Erin Brady said...

Oh Anna....how can you turn poop into a beautiful blog? Thank you for the reminder that this part of life is but a season. I needed it.

Anonymous said...

You are a great writer. Everyday life things expressed so beautifully. Thankyou.

Steph said...

This really cracked me up: "I'll agree, and hope that that exact moment is not when the delivery truck pulls up with my new shag." Love your writing and its wisdom both practical and introspective.

Gigi said...

I loved everything about this post. And I love Andrew's "Uh-oh" as the leaves fell - so sweet.

Anonymous said...

this was a really great post. they're all great, all compelling, but the writing in this really shines.

connie said...

Beautiful post.

Liz said...

I love love love "Everything has a life." I have never heard it put that way, but that is so perfect - dishes break, drinks spill, clothes get stained, computers become obsolete and need to be replaced. Thank you.

Lela Gunn said...

So glad I took the time this weekend to read "Rare Bird". It had been on my radar for a couple of years, but time marches on. I now have cancer, but am doing well -just awfully tired from treatments. I rewarded my tiredness by reading your book over the last two days which then led me to your blog. I too have suffered the loss of a child, but since my daughter died the day of her birth, I didn't have the volume of memories that you had with your son Jack. 4 years later, at the age of 35, I gave birth to another daughter and she has been our keeper and our reminder that "Joy comes in the morning" - Psalm 30:5. I just felt like popping in and saying thank you for sharing your heart. May God continue to bless your family.

Yankee, Transferred said...

So beautifully written.