Fresh Start

In disclosure of full honesty, I gladly shut the door this morning on my family as they left for the day.   The silky threads atop their heads smothered with my kisses, still on my lips.  I actually locked the door.  And then I ran.

You see, for the last month I have been researching computers.  I am a PC user, tried and true.  But my computer is seven years old and starting to have all sorts of issues that cause me to do extra yoga and drink more espresso.  Plus, my boys are always hounding me to use my computer these days to do things like Create a Car and Spelling City, and now my N key is hanging like a front tooth by the root.  I have to take deep breaths when I work because I do not like broken keys or the way I look over at one of them on my computer touching the keys while simultaneously picking their nose and then plastering their sticky germ-infested fingers all over the keyboard.  In short, I do not like to share my computer.  I've always thought I could never live without my kids or coffee.  But in truth, I don't think I could live without my kids and my computer.  One half of my life, which is to say one half of my heart and soul, beats in sync with letters, a space bar, Lightroom, and the stark whiteness of an empty screen waiting to be filled.  

So it was decided that since I was in need of a new computer along with Eric's voice ringing in my ear that my business needed an expense for 2014, we would give my tiring laptop to the boys and I would buy something new.  But here's the thing, I am not a techie person.  In the past, Eric has picked out our computers and I've been more than happy to let him.  All I knew was that I had plenty of storage for my photos and how to access any blank page, which is all I cared about.  This time, though, I wanted to do it all on my own.  It was going to be exclusively mine, for my business, for my creative pulse.  I began to spend time researching the latest PC' s and Mac's.  I talked to tech support at Apple and Microsoft.  I went to the Apple store and the Microsoft store.  I learned about RAM, gigahertz and retina displays.  Then, when I made the decision to buy a Mac, I watched sales.  The day before Thanksgiving, I put a shiny new Macbook Pro in my virtual cart and hit purchase.  

Last night when our doorbell rang and the boys saw the UPS man, they screamed and cheered, "It's here, Mom!  Your new computer is here!"  

I even wanted to start with a new desk this morning.  Before Eric left to take the kids to school and then for work, I asked him to please help me carry our old farmhouse table with the sides that fold down upstair to our bedroom.  In the corner and in front of the window where the sunlight spills in just so is where I like to edit photos and write.  I wanted more room to spread out.  I wanted a whole new start.  As we were getting ready to carry the table upstairs, Eric said I should switch sides with him because I was on the end that would have to lift the heaviest part of the table upstairs backwards.   A silent pause.  Or not, he said.

I opened this sleek silvery computer this morning and pushed the Start key the first second I was able to hit the get-my-family-out-of-the-house Stop key.  I went through the prompts to get started with a smile plastered on my face.  I have no idea how to use a Mac, but I found Pandora and a blank page.  Here on this old table the color of butterscotch and memory, I have my coffee to my left, the sun to my right, and my whole self beating with eager bones and new ideas in front of me.


Thanksgiving Eve

Drip coffee in my cup with a thick swirl of eggnog this morning.  I just left the kitchen, talk of dreams and rejuvenation - or not- and better dreams with feet pointed west instead of east.  On this Thanksgiving Eve, our house is full and tomorrow it will swell to the brim with even more family.  Nothing makes me happier.  I said to my husband the other day, let's just skip giving each other Christmas gifts this year.  A slowed schedule with long mornings and hours spent cooking and baking with tunes and candlelight and the sound of my children and the geese is all I want.  And he said, but I'd like to give you something.

This time of year gets me worrying, especially about Theo and Sully.  An abundance of talk of the "wanting" variety when so many children have so little, if anything at all.  Their noses deep in the Target toy catalog with anticipation and, even worse, expectation.  I circle with talk of gratitude and the importance of appreciating what we have, and I might as well be on my hands and knees cleaning baseboards and dusting art.  They could care less.  And then I remind myself that I feel mostly good about what we model in our daily lives and how we live and what we're hopefully teaching them, even if they don't seem to notice on the surface.  They're kids.  I was once, too.  I'm sure I did the same thing, and anyway sometimes I want the "stuff" still, but the very best present is the presence of my family and dear friends, the comfort of our home, and a plot of dirt to call my own, bent over on hands and knees, earth to work, gratitude.

I walked my laptop to a sunny corner of the house for a sliver of quiet and glimpse of open sky.  It is here where I sit this morning before the cooking will begin.  My list of to-do's is long but I've long since understood when my need to write it out trumps all.  Like our current sleeping arrangements, it's been a while since I put my back to the east while the words string themselves along.  It feels wonderful this morning to switch it up.  Anais Nin said that life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.  I keep thinking about that when I worry, too.  There's nothing courageous about changing rooms, but there is courage in changing direction. 

just write.


Quick Math

My sons have created this thing.  It is something of a game and it always begins like this: How old will you be when...?  

When I'm six, Theo, you will be eight.  When I'm eight you will be ten.  When I'm ten you will be twelve.  This continues for one or two more minutes, and then it inevitably goes something like this:

When I am twelve, Mom will be forty-six.  When I'm eighteen, says Theo, Mom will be fifty...

I listen to their voices and I admire their budding ability to do quick thinking math.  Their lovely sugary sounds ping back and forth from mouth to mouth, and I go still.  This is funny business to them.  They're competing.  They're showing off - How old will Mom get?!  

There is cotton in my mouth.  My heart pauses.  I think but do not tell them that hearing their voices roll our ages out before us, as if each passing day isn't going fast enough, is like beating the rug of our life; the dirt and dust shaking out in lines that appear around my eyes, mouth, forehead.  Particles mixed with light linger on my no longer taut belly - the one that has stretched and exploded before me in the most beautiful soft roundness, not once but twice, that I could push in with my finger and feel a foot fold, touch heels when they were on my insides.  At times there is even an ache and the phantom pain of an arm stretching, a head turning straight towards my soul, a story past.  Wasn't that just yesterday's story?  Wait, wait, I say, I'm still doing the math.

I am at my computer editing photos.  Pandora is set to Joni Mitchell radio.  Her voice makes me feel woozy, like I just hit the bottle of my early twenties, when what was time?  Theo saddles up next to me and I stop what I'm doing to smell the top of his head; to kiss his thumb sized hole of missing skull bone that pulses in beat with my own heart.  He takes my love but dryly says that Joni Mitchell is no Katy Perry.  No, I suppose not, I say.  But she's just as awesome - in a different way.  He raises his eyebrows and gives his head a shake back and forth, his lips fold into a smile.  That is his second-grade way of saying, whatever, Mom.  Whatever.

Then I find myself alone at the kitchen sink.  I'm peeling a mandarin and staring out the window at the blanket of fresh snow covering our world, the bright scent filling me.  A winterized goldfinch sits still on a tree branch.  Across the way in the park, the geese have returned after a long summer and mild fall; they are huddled together with the last bit of day's light resting on their backs.  I am aware of my reshaped space, the softness of it, the feeling of possibility.  Still, it is a challenge, I think, to not always be doing the math.  At least it is my challenge.