And suddenly everything is lighter, in spite of the thin letter of rejection I’ve just opened and read, my overeager eyes first racing down the page and taking in whole paragraphs of ‘no’ before decoding the words that make them up.
I walk back from the mailbox, glance up at my house, and think, This is my home; these are my people. The thought has arrived unbidden; I flush with its truth and with pride, pride that adds an inch to my frame. I dare any neighbor to walk by me right now. Let him tell me all about his great loves and greater losses. I will listen hard. Surprised, he will take comfort in me. He will be so glad that he stopped when he did, that he took a chance on a chance encounter. I will not ask him to pay me for my services.
In the morning, my husband writes out math riddles for our sleeping children and leaves them on the table for the boys to find hours later as they stumble into the kitchen shaking sleep like drops of water off of their coltish bodies. These puzzles are his love letters to his children, who are smart enough to take them in the spirit in which they have been offered. They stand straighter, grow faster, on our love. The evidence will not be denied.
After work my husband (or their father, if you prefer to view things on a slant) brings home a picture wrapped in brown paper. He has taken a photo of our cat to be framed. Does this not reveal a man possessed of an extraordinary ordinariness?
He and I believe that we do this thing, the raising of children, well. We are at our best when we parent. The electricity between us was always generated by the anticipation of this part of our lives. We’ve got this.
Yet how ridiculous. What ‘thing’ do we have? Chance is chance. We are lucky, not gifted. We know this. Don’t be fooled by a certain self-congratulatory note you may have detected in this post. It does not exist.
In truth, suddenly everything is lighter, and I can’t tell you why. I can’t even guess at how long it will last.
But I’d be crazy not to allow this grass-fed June breeze, its gaze for now locked on me, to cradle my life, my home, my husband, my children, my cat (my, my, my, mine), wouldn’t I? August will bring regret, as it does. But thankfully there is nothing of August in June.