All the kids went back to school today.
We’re back from vacation.
Yesterday your father tried to explain daylight savings time to me again in another head-bangingly painful conversation. “I know, I know, I get it,” I shushed him, just wanting it to end, “it’ll be darker out earlier or something, it’s fall ahead.”
“Babe, it’s fall back.”
It’s early September, the unofficial end of summer, and all of this emphasis is on going back.
Even I, on the last day of our vacation at the beach, said I could not wait to get back.
I can’t wait to get back to my bed! My shower! My feet were black after two weeks of no shoes, aside from the occasional filthy flip-flop. I’d forgotten soap and been washing my sand-coated body with Pantene. I totally get why dogs pee on stuff to mark their territory. I’d looked so forward to “getting out of here” in regards to our house, and then, come one morning, I looked out the window at our house overlooking Lake Montauk, and I said get me out of here. I missed my coffee mug. I missed my grocery store where I know where everything is and can go in and retrieve pine nuts like a heat seeking missile. Most of all, I missed my routine. I wanted to go back...
We’re back now, and so much has changed. Has it really only been two weeks, my god! You sleep in a bed now, Baby Boy. You climb in and out (and in and out, and in, and out, and into your sister’s crib to be a pest, and out, and into the closet to stubbornly hide in there in the pitch blackness until I notice you missing on the video monitor and come in to find you squatting in there like a bullfrog next to a giant ziplock back of your sister’s winter sweaters and you laugh, laugh, laugh, and I storm back down the stairs muttering to myself like an angry hobo “one of these times I’m not going to get him, I won’t, he’ll learn your lesson, he’ll see!” fully knowing that that will never happen. Contrary to what everyone told me–“don’t do it! He’s too young! Your life will be over! You’ll never sleep!” (love everyone)–you were ready and it’ll be okay. (Note to myself within this note: Contrary to the no credit I give myself, I do know my kid.)
See I wanted to go back our old routine, when I put you guys in your cribs and you stayed there. Shut the door. Goodnight. Now, we’re in a new era. Let’s call it The Resistance. How very French revolutionary. You guys start school in two weeks. School. You have no idea what you’re in for. Two hours with no kids two days a week? Neither do I. I wanted to go back, but how, when we are growing. When life is always spinning. When experiences and encounters are constantly affecting us. How can we ever expect to go back to something and have it be the same?
(“Do you think I will throw up if I get this?” I asked your father pointing to a description on a drink menu of a cocktail called the Cocomosa: champagne, pineapple juice and coconut rum. “I think if you think there’s a chance that something might make you vomit, you should not drink it.” See? Even on vacation there was so much to learn!)
One night when you were a few weeks old I heard you crying in the night, Baby Boy. I crept into your room and carefully scooped you up with my one forearm. (How can you tell a twin mom? By her amazing ability to do things with one hand.) I did not want to wake your sister who slept one foot away from you, head to head in the same crib. The curtains were cracked letting in a sliver of silver. I rocked you gently as I whispered “shh, shh, it’s okay, I got you.” Your head was cradled in my palm, on display like a platter, your face was as big as the moon. And there, in the silver light, I saw it: A smile. You weren’t crying, but laughing. “I got you, Mom,” you were probably thinking, “I got you…”
…Why don’t you just go ahead and make stuffing? Your dad said entering the kitchen last night while I was cooking dinner. I was in my glory with roasting and rosemary. So long, hot dogs and cole slaw, bring on the autumn squash. I am seasonal. I already lit my fall pumpkin spice candle. If it wasn’t five million degrees outside today, I would be wearing jeans and a light sweater. “It’s September, Denby,” I said. “Summer is over.”
Back has a strong hold on us. In tastes, sights, smells.
In photographs from vacation that will only bring to mind the good memories, the sunset with our feet in a lake, skipping rocks, turning over tiny shells to see if they were snails…
…Not the throw up in a restaurant when a toddler eats too much cantaloupe. The entire wardrobe of “wrong clothing:” Too much dressy stuff, too much casual, too much warm stuff, not enough for cold, one can never get packing right!
I think we need the memories for security, our comfort blankets as we head into the next season, the next chapter, the next stage.
As we go back to our old lives, changed.