I was all set to start complaining to your father, even before he could say hello. The phone rang, you guys cheered your usual “Nana!,” sadly keenly aware at age two that my mother is the only person who calls me, and I said, “no, it’s daddy!” seeing his number displayed on the phone.
Thank god, I thought. It was yesterday dinnertime and we had had a day. I was looking to vent. To tell him my woes. “THEY’RE CRAZY! They’ve both been in time outs a million times and they don’t care, they think its funny! And thank you for telling them that I look like the troll from Dora the Explorer. Now they have a new saying in their rotation: Baby Girl looks like Cinderella. Baby Boy, Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Mama, the grumpy troll. Thanks for that, thank you…”
Yes, all of this was ready to pour out of my mouth, even before saying hello.
But then your dad said hello, and I could hear it in his voice. He was treading carefully. What, did he have a dinner tonight? More traveling?
Did you hear about Boston? he asked. Having seen nothing but dvr’d Blues Clues all day, I had not. Your dad informed me of the tragedy, of the senseless killing. “How many?” “Three.” “Oh.”
I hung up the phone feeling heavy. Yet I slapped on my smile. We still had dinner to get through. We sang take me out to the ball game a few times. I put Bob Marley on while cleaning the dishes, hoping once again that maybe this time I would believe him, that every little thing is gonna be all right.
When it was time to go upstairs for bath you wanted to take a truck with you, Baby Boy. Normally I wouldn’t let you, not needing any more distraction when it comes to going to sleep. But last night I did. Sure, buddy, I said, you want to take this one with you? You want the little drivers too? Okay, go ahead…When we got to the steps you couldn’t hold everything and hold into the railing, so you turned to me and held out your toys and asked, “Mama, you carry now, please?”
“Sure, buddy, I’ll carry these up the stairs for you,” and I walked up the steps with laser like focus, so clear in that moment of what my duty was. I couldn’t control the outside world, but I could in your world try to make every little thing all right, carrying tiny truck drivers to safety.
I love you,