People who read these letters lean in to ask me, “how are you? are you okay? I read your blog.” And I furrow my brows at them and make that scrunched up face that would make some botoxer very happy, if I were into that sort of thing. “Huh? Me? I’m fine!” as if to insinuate, thanks, but why do you ask?
But I know why they ask: I don’t write about the good things, or at least enough. Call me a downer (you: Downer) but I don’t want to sit and write about when we’re all well fed and rested and happy. This morning we were having a competition with each other over who loved each other the most: “THIS MUCH?” with your little arms stretched out as much as they could. “Nope! I still love you more, I love you THIIIIIIIS MUCH!” “WHOOOOA!” (Yes, I love you that big.) I don’t want to write about those moments. I want to be in them. I want to keep them for myself. I want to walk around the house smiling like a grinning idiot thinking, man I love my kids…
…It’s been a good afternoon. The sun is shining and everyone is happy. We went to Stop & Shop to buy orange juice and came out with bacon, Hershey’s syrup and vanilla ice cream. “I”m like Paula Deen!” I said, and you both laughed.
Reeling from the happy high, we went next door to the pet store.
We talked to the bunny and the turtles.
We saw two frogs in the same cage and decided they must be twins.
When we got to the fish tanks, I noticed a commotion in one.
I looked closer. Squinted. (Somewhere that botoxer is smiling.)
A shrimp had impaled a tiny blue fish with two long, spindly claws.
“Oh, my god!” I cried in knee-jerk reaction. The shrimp was digging its legs in harder, and the fish was flailing around in its grasp, helpless. I thought of all those times on the subway when I read the ads, “if you see something, say something.” I tapped on the glass but the shrimp didn’t stop its attack. I said something. “Excuse me! Excuse me!”
A worker ran over, excited by the thought of a sale. “Can I help you?”
“THE SHRIMP IS ATTACKING THE FISH!”
She bent over. Looked. Squinted.
“Oh yeah, he’s eatin’ him.”
“Yeah, he’s dead.”
“NO! He’s not dead! I see his wings flapping!”
“Nah, they’re just blowin’ in the water.”
“Okay, babies, let’s go,” and I escorted us over to the lizards.
…and so it goes, of the ten million little moments that happen in a day, some are good, some are bad. Thinking of death by flesh-eating shrimp incident, some are downright awful.
It’s all the scale tipping back and forth back and forth. We can’t always be happy. (It’s just not our reality.) That’s what makes those sweet spots so good.