It’s a girl, it’s a rhyme
It has been one of those days where you leave the house in the morning and a tornado catches you and spins you mercilessly for 12 hours and suddenly it’s nighttime and you aren’t sure if you accomplished anything.
I managed to feign health this morning and went to my shift at AJ’s school, where I helped two kids write compositions about reindeer. The first one was so nervous that she stuttered when she read to me. The second one, who has a perennial runny nose, and was wiping it with the palm of his hand. No wonder I’ve been sick. It’s amazing the teachers are ever in school, really.
The rest of the day I was trying to not kill myself over the thing I’m working on now while, unfortunately, doing more unwriting than writing. And then suddenly AJ was home and had a millions things he needed help with. It’s like this every January and February. There are so many extra things that get piled on at school. Any one of them is fun. All of them at the same time is hell. Right now, in addition to regular school homework and Cub Scout homework, he’s got the Pinewood Derby car to finish, science fair experiments to conduct, a special reading journal for class, an all-school reading program (fortunately, he can count the books he’s already reading for other stuff, so that’s no real hardship except that he has to remember to fill in the sheet), valentines to make, a shoebox to decorate to hold his valentines, and a hat to make for a bust of Abraham Lincoln that the school has that lacks one as part of an all-school art contest. There are also evening commitments, like last week’s school roller skate night and the upcoming 2nd grade musicale, the Pinewood Derby and the Science Fair nights. And all this before the end of February.
I’m assuming it’s designed to distract us from the weather. February is the month where we think it’s never going to be spring again. We tell ourselves it’s getting light earlier and we buy cheery spring bulbs to grow indoors. It doesn’t really help, but it’s a distraction. Like the extra school work. And Rod Blagojevich’s hair.
And then I’m throwing together one of our favorite meals, a dish of my own invention (chard and spicy Italian chicken sausage and cannellini beans, cooked with chicken broth and seasoned with fennel seeds and balsamic vinegar) and we are all sitting around the table wondering what happened to our day and why the sun is down and how we can have so very much more to do before it is time to collapse in bed, only to discover that it is immediately morning.
Somewhere during this whirlwind, I stepped out to pick up something from a drive through window for AJ, because the restaurant was doing a fundraiser for his school and he came home all excited about it. I took Mr. Spy’s car. He had a CD in his player that I made him for our anniversary, a carefully culled collection of songs from our past and songs I thought he’d like, mostly from the jazz/cabaret side of things. And Holly Cole came on singing Jobim’s the “Waters of March.” I’ve written before how this song makes me cry, how it somehow catches perfectly all the very everyday things you do, the things you don’t think about, that bore you to tears, all mixed in with the drama and how all of it, the big and the small, is totally amazing and beautiful. It’s a life. And one hearing of the song, tears on my face, driving through the snow on a Tuesday night, is all it took to remember that the busyness is part of it too and if you stop fighting it, you might even like it.
And so I sit down at the keyboard and bang out six or seven hundred words before reading bedtime stories and taking an X-acto knife to a piece of foamcore in hopes of making a science project work and thinking about all the Nobel prizes I would win if my brain weren’t so busy trying to remember all of these things and wondering, too, if maybe Nobel prizes are overrated.