The older girls know how babies are made. We told them last summer while the twins were napping, on the deck with a book and some lemonade. It was easy, a mid-July list of capitols to memorize. They asked questions, we answered, the world kept turning. Real words and no surprises, because bus talk breeds shame and we prefer otherwise. Fragile synapses and an empty byline; if there’s an unclaimed narrative, we’ll seize it every time.
I’m good at guiding from the clouds – rocks ahead, child, keep your eyes down; river approaching, prepare to get wet – but I’m bad, very bad, at coaxing them into their hiking boots. I can talk about sex, but I cannot color pictures, watch Elsa, brush teeth. My daughter wore chucks to her first communion, public perception an afterthought, but family photos outside the church made my palms sweat. Little things are heavy, big things are light.
Echocardiograms for the youngest? Done.
Multiplication tables with the oldest? Hello, cortisol.
River, you say? No problem; spare me the puddle.
My patience for repetition is lacking at best. These months especially, as fall becomes winter, I am irritable, uninspired, on the hunt for pockets of solitude – expecting solace, finding disruption. Someone’s thirsty, another tired. Escape is a skipping record, familiar songs with unfamiliar rhythms. Social media feigns retreat, but I surface more restless than before. Noise is still noise.
I look in the mirror, see the years, feel the urgency. For what? Something different? More of the same? It’s a privileged yearning birthed from met needs, an understanding that, yes, small things are big things and perhaps the itch is just velvet from my throne and Jesus, Kara, do you want something to cry about?
I always come back to this, the ebb of day-to-day against the flow of evolution. Same post, different words – undercurrent of all else. A turtle on the tide, I suppose, surfacing to assess the sky. Some days, sun, warm and brilliant. Others, clouds, no silver lining. Forward, always, site unseen.
This season, overcast. Spilled juice, knotted hair, dried paint. Rogue socks, chore lists, sight words. Little things, so very, very difficult, and a lesson, somewhere, to trust the migration.