Dan left last Friday for hunting. It’s archery season here in Southwest Colorado, that time of year that we send Dan off with his homemade bow, an insane amount of calories, and our fervent good wishes on pursuing his highest dreams, so long as he gets his ass back home in one week.
Just what it looks like: bacon, cheese, peanut butter and chocolate on an english muffin. Hunting food for the 2-night stints away from basecamp without a stove.
Kitchen crate for basecamp, for which Dan has packed luxuries such as garden chard and other scurvy-busting veggies, coffee and what…a pint glass? “That’s um, because it’s really nice to drink a cold Guinness out of a glass.” Dan tells me. You go, you classy mountain man.
The day of Dan’s departure is always hectic. Dan bustles around the house, frying bacon and assembling little tubes of camo face paint, which Rose mistakes for make-up and is found crouching secretively in our room, trying to jimmy the caps off. The kids are on high anticipation alert, asking about 50 more questions per hour than usual and flopping around as if their bones are slowly melting away.
And then Dan leaves, and suddenly everything is funny; funny like look how Col is eating breakfast standing up because he doesn’t want to displace the paper airplane on his chair. And wow, Rose is so thrilled to find the bottle of glue I bought for a homeschool co-op project that she’s glueing strange fuzz found on our floors to paper.
Uno solitaire, or something…
And sometimes nothing is funny. Sometimes we’re just trying to get through a trip to the supermarket and the kids are chasing each other through the aisles, shrieking, at a pitch that doesn’t even seem legal. And the dishes in our sink are like one of those trick candles that you can’t ever blow out, and one kid bit the other and left a bite mark and both kids are always asking me something, urgently, often something unanswerable, like “what song will come next on the radio?” And one of them is ringing this annoying bell repeatedly, scraping at my nerves, but I breathe and bear it because I’m sick of my own nagging voice, and the mathematical equation of how much energy I’m putting out compared to taking in would break a calculator.
But here’s the extraordinary thing, the thing that still boggles me: the solution is sometimes the same as the problem itself. It’s like the Hair of The Dog hangover remedy. Okay, you’re under-caffeinated and beleaguered by children? Take a small dose of joyful, delightful children who love you more than 200 bottles of elmer’s glue.
Because really, they are such good and kind and hilarious little people.
Col greets me in the morning, unfailingly, by throwing himself at me and professing, “I love you, Mama. Soooooo much.”
And Rose, in the middle of a 90F August day, shimmies into a 2-pound dress, all thick with black velvet and ruffled petticoats.”Okay, Mama. Ready to watch me? Wait, not yet. Okay now!” And she streaks like a victorian comet across our living room, with no reason not to believe that she is strong and divine.
Last week I took the kids to hear my friend sing in her all-woman wiccan choir and ever since Col’s been absentmindedly singing “I’m a wise, wise woman,” as he snaps legos together, which can lift me out of any nagging-induced funk.
When Karen heard last night that Rose had already been to her first day of homeschool co-op, she asked Rose when that had happened.
“Oh, tomorrow,” Rose replied.
“No Rosie, yesterday,” Col.
“Oh, right,” she said without a trace of embarrassment.
We went back to the grocery store tonight for cheesecloth and I told the kids to pick out a carton of ice cream, any kind, to eat when we got home, even though it was late, past bedtime. And then we danced in the parking lot while I sang Abba’s Dancing Queen, and the kids went all wide-eyed and proud like maybe I had been hiding the fact all these years that I was actually a rock star.