Wednesdays, and I say that with some pride, Wednesdays, which for the last three weeks have followed a pattern, middle guy off at Improv, other two at home for dinner, have been quite nice, oldest and youngest and I sitting around the table on the porch eating, laughing, and talking, oldest and youngest showing a fondness for one another that is rebuilding after three years of college keeping them apart, oldest now twenty, youngest now fourteen, gap not shrinking, but there is the attempt to reconnect with old affection at the base, with new teen/young adult topics to explore together. We start with some talk about the World Cup. As a sports know nothing, I have questions to ask, which I hope will make the youngest feel more in the know, which give the oldest something to be expert on, again.
After eating, the youngest disappears to her room, leaving the oldest and me to talk about this and that. Partway into our conversation, I start to cry. Mom, are you ok? my boy asks..and it is that is has been such a long time we’ve all been falling apart, it feels so good to be put back together again for weeks at a time. I let my boy know its the first time in nearly six years I’ve had the kids with me for over two weeks, which is what brought the tears..When he asks if I’m ok, I can only say, It’s been so long, which launches us into a discussion of divorce, how it impacts the oldest and the others, about the Penelope Leach book on divorce and children I’ve been reading, about research he’s read and statistics he finds questionable, about courses we’ve taken looking critically at studies which are often flawed, about some mathematical/statistical concept my son explains at length, which takes all my concentration to follow, and we talk about my children in the day care, the charming story of the day, the concept that they shared that love is not without fighting, and I ask about his gal friend, and then hear about their summer plans, until it is nearly time to Skype the gal friend. We start the dishes together, he unloads the dishwasher, I put away the food, and I ask for some of his music I heard and liked earlier in the summer..we figure out who it is, Bill Callahan, and he plays a song, then goes off to his room, leaving me to listen to Pandora on my iphone, which last played Anais Mitchell, who I’m happy to hear again, will save Bill Callahan for another time, and I’m in my zone again, mom in the kitchen with Pandora on the radio, singing Skinny Love over the sink, looking out the window at my neighbor Michael’s darkened porch, all of us in for the night, and I’m grateful to have my center back, grateful for two and a half weeks together, hoping for more, knowing this is it for a long while, won’t be another two weeks with all three kids under my roof for a long time again, if ever, and that is sad and good, sad that I long for it so and can’t have it, good that they are growing up happy and strong. Mom’s dilemma, that, divorced mom’s dilemma more specifically; supporting my kids’ relationship with their dad means I have to make peace with their living half time in my home and make the best of the times I luck out and they’re here more.
Today walking to the park my day care gal noticed a statue on a lawn. “That’s Mary,” she let us know. “Yes, she is,” I replied. “When I was a girl, Mary was important to me.” My little Jewish gal wondered why she was important, I wondered how she knew who Mary is. Her mom told her. I grew up Catholic, in a church named The Immaculate Conception with a statue of Mary out front. “I was Catholic then,” I said. “Mary is important in the Catholic Church. She shows us what it means to be a good mother. She was the mother of Jesus, according to the stories that are important if you are Catholic.”
“God is important in my religion.” my little Jewish gal says.
“Yes, that’s true. God is important in a lot of religions.” I’m struck by the joy of conversing with my turning fours, by the way the world opens up to them and to me when we talk.
Later as we’re walking home, we talk about marriage. My nearly four asks what a marriage is for, and I have to think, say it is about sharing a life, and my nearly four wonders why a person would want to share a life, and I say it could be about having children or sharing a home or sharing money or decisions, and my four and older three, both girls, talk about marrying girls, then plan to marry one another, plan a wedding for the afternoon, with fancy dresses and lipstick and makeup and permission from their parents, but the nearly four is not sure who she will marry, first thinks she will choose her papa, then thinks she will choose someone far away not in her family, and I let her know she has time, that I did not choose the one that I would marry until I was twenty one, and we didn’t marry until we were twenty four..all of this started when the older three told us her grandparents were married fifty years ago..such a long time, so much longer than my nearly twenty years. But it is a fine thing to be a mother, which came for me from the marriage, and that, at least, goes on for life, and beyond, to which Mary can attest.