Saturday, December 26, 2009

When Email Slows

There is a luxurious lack of incoming communication in the professional sense, allowing me to direct attention to long-neglected projects and documents. I sometimes think longingly of home - how I could sleep late and nap often, simmer soups and do some writing.

I am instead at my parents' cozy place in Illinois. It's been wonderfully quiet and amusingly chaotic by turn. I slept until 6:30 this morning, a very respectable hour, and crept down the hallway to peek in on Smallest One before continuing to the living room where Mom was slumped on a corner of the couch with Little One curled on her lap, staring at the lights of the tree.

Yet for many of the cuddles and giggles, there were unpleasant scoldings when the sisters argued or torturing small children with doses of antibiotics. I felt all warm and fuzzy with my parents on Christmas Eve - standing between them in a pew near the back as we recited the Lord's Prayer together and later sang Silent Night with lit candles held in our hands. Yet today I threw up my hands at both of them - Dad lecturing ad nauseum when Little One sassed him with an admittedly-rude "blah, blah, blah." Mom reacts with a stunning lack of consistency when it comes to issues with Brother. "I can't help you," I finally said, throwing up my hands, "because I don't know what you want!"

Chienne braved the weather - first massive amounts of rain and now an unexpected amount of snow - to potty outside, going so far as to run away while we sold and moved my childhood piano. But she blew it by peeing downstairs, leaving us to find the mess while we were attempting to install the gas fireplace. Sprout has been more predictable - when it's quiet and child-free, he's a frequent visitor. But when Little and Smallest Ones are here, he huddles in his basement, poking his stripey head around the corner only to race away from them.

I spent time with the puppies (!!!) who are a bit larger but equally adorable in Aunt and Uncle's garage. We kissed and cuddled after the debacle (which I'm unlikely to finish) and I calmed as the three dogs pressed against me and licked my chin. Cousin, et al., came out to see us - Little Cousin enjoys playing with Little One (a happy surprise) so they arranged another date at my parents' house yesterday. I sat with Cousin at the kitchen table, discussing how many hours we worked as we nibbled mints and monkey bread and watched Aunt sew together a plush rabbit.

"Mom?" I finally said, "Maybe we could buy animals that are pre-fabricated rather than these that we have to build ourselves?"

"I'm out of thread," she muttered, giving me a dark look. "I can't finish Smallest One's dog."

Cousin and I continued to talk - she saying I was actually lucky to not deal with the guilt of neglecting a husband and child while managing professional responsibilities; I saying I thought not having direct reports helped a good deal - while we were handed the animals and bags of stuffing from our respective moms.

"This is just wrong," she decided, continuing to shove the white filling through the hole between the rabbit's legs. Looking up from an identical project with a spotted dog, I nodded before taking a sip of water and jabbing stuffing into the arms.

"Grandma?" Smallest One asked this morning, and I felt proud that I was learning enough of her words and speech patterns to communicate reasonably effectively.

"She went outside, love," I replied. "To help Grandpa with the snow."

"I help!" she cried, going to fetch her winter wear and returning to me with tiny arms full.

"OK," I smiled and she bounced in front of me. "Let's find your boots."

"You help?" she asked curiously as I helped her in boots and sweatshirt, coat and gloves and hat.

"I think they're good," I answered. "Other arm in," I coaxed as she talked about how it was snowing and she'd help and could she go yet?

Their mother came for them this morning, resulting in another round of bundling up and hugs and kisses.

"Love you bye." Smallest One says - no pause between any words - before leaving. We repeat the sentiment and wave at the window before collapsing and wondering if we can find snacks and sleep before they return.

1 comment:

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Enjoy! It sounds like you are having a (mostly) relaxing time.

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