I see my last blog entry and it feels like Christmas lights on a house, long after the holidays have ended. Something new needs to be put up, the lights have to be taken down along with the Christmas tree and wrapping paper and decorations. Everything needs to be put into the old boxes and re-stuffed back into the garage. The thing is...every time I sit down to clean up here, one of the children demands something or other. Before long, I'm out of the habit. Like now.
So today's M's birthday. She woke up with a big smile, her front tooth missing after a goof-around session with A last night. "Mommy," she said, "the tooth fairy came last night! I got..."
She peeked into the plastic baggie and said, "Five dollars!"
D had put it there - we tell the kids the tooth fairy is kind and always leaves the tooth for the memory box we keep in the kitchen. I glanced at D, "Five dollars...wow. That Tooth Fairy has become very generous."
"Increased cost of living, you know."
"What does the tooth fairy look like, M?"
"She's green and white. Green dress, green shoes, green face...and she wears a bracelet with a white tooth!"
A couple of presents came, by way of D who had already started cooking some bacon out in the kitchen. Roller skates, elbow and knee pads, a pink outfit from the Gap, and socks. All lovely. The house was warm, the boys were still sleeping, and Sassy was romping in the wrapping paper. There didn't seem anything wrong with having a post-Christmas birthday. We'd worried about that when we learned M's due date. Would she feel cheated, sad, bummed out? So far...so good. Only time will tell.
Christmas seemed to fly by as usual. All holidays seem to do that. Every year seems to do that. Teaching has intensified the speedy feel of time because when I teach, I live lecture to lecture, test to test, assignment to assignment...focusing on the end of the semester. Poof it comes...then it goes...then the year starts up again. Very roller-coastery. When life stops, like now, during the holiday break, I feel like I just got off that crazy coaster, looking around, saying, "Whew!", dizzy, breathless, the memory dream-like. I see the children and they are so much bigger now, so...outside-the-womb.
I long to hold them again in Papa's rocking chair, rocking in the dark, feet deep in slippers.
We went to my aunt's house yesterday, spending a blustery day in Mission Viejo. At one point I turned to look at the kids outside, all the kids, cousins, second cousins, and they were running like mad against the wind, even J, looking to be swept away in that wildness. They laughed hard and I chuckled at teenage J having as good a time as nearly-5 CousinMG. We sang a birthday song for M but she couldn't bear the attention so she dipped her head down, fumbling with an errant string on her pants. At least she didn't cry. She used to cry when she was younger. At every birthday song. The moment that song started, she cried. Prescience maybe.
So yeah...Christmas is done with. The financial leak is plugged. We'll cry come January's bills, I can assure you. The Visa card was hot this month which we loathe but feel compelled to do anyway. The teachers, other kids, extended family, the selves. We tend to use Christmas as the excuse for buying what the kids need. Shoes, clothes, crayons, a new skateboard deck, a book of bass guitar tabs, books, a winter coat, socks and underwear. Then the few games and toys. The kids don't seem to notice. Thank goodness. They are the sorts where if it comes in a wrapped box, then they love it.
I got sweaters. Still need new jeans. Wish someone would have gotten me time, though. Time in a box. Maybe a trinket that slows up the clock and erases the wrinkles I see in my face. The laugh lines that no longer go away, the worry lines that don't fade with relaxation or sleep. Oh and what of all that whitish hair? You, dear readers, have no idea the greyness of my hair. I stopped coloring long ago, not able to keep up with the white roots that would shoot up only two weeks after a tint. At one point I was called, "prematurely grey." I think I'm passed the premature part, heading into forty-three. The hair seems appropriate.
Why do I feel like sighing? A sense of loss in the wake of the holidays overwhelms the moment. Some things are lost that can't be given back...some things are lost that I'll never re-attain. I think I've lost those things sooner than others lose them, sooner than I was ready.
I'll be back...I need to watch M skate in the front yard. Need to break up J and A who are battling in a back room. Damn it, I'm strapped into the seat and the attendants have called, "All clear," and the coaster is off again.