The days stretch and there are teeth forcing their way slowly through my youngest son's gums. He is not sleeping, and neither am I. (Are you sure that I am loved?)
I hold him a lot. And then I snap at people. And then I cringe. (I don't feel lovable.)
But there are glimmers. (Do you love me, Maker?)
Love glimmers, like tonight when my back was aching and I lay on the cool concrete floor and all three of the older kids lined up and lay with their heads on my belly, like a group of kittens. YaYa stroked my face and told me, "I haven't seen you cry in a long time." (The answer comes: A very loud YES!)
"When was the last time you saw me cry?" I ask. No one can remember. "I think sometime in America when you and Daddy were talking and you were sad," someone says. They are wrong. They saw me cry in Goa, when we arrived. When we were there, this place that I am in now, comfortable here and in a house and out in the sun, in the breeze, on a rooftop, this place would have seemed like paradise. Why am I so dry and stubborn, adjusting to good things and finding something new to complain about? (Life King, are you sure that you love me? Because I know that I love you, that I would curl myself up next to your breastbone if only I could, that I love the things you make and I would run off of a hillside with lemmings, I would breathe under water, I would stampede, I would fly, I would become the peak of a mountain, just for the joy of it.)
There are other glimmers. Tonight we ate baby ferns that our neighbor brought us from the shady glades of the forests near the waterfall. Becca watched everyone this morning so that I could sleep. Math is going well, we are all healthy, and I gave Tripta some of the eggplants. In turn, she gave me some potatoes from her garden. (Yes, again, an 'I love you' but not a shrill yes.)
It's better if I sit down and paint. It's better if I am singing my way through the day. It's better if I am getting some sleep. It's better if I am not thinking too hard about all that I should be. (Not an exasperated yes, either, like 'Yes, already. Jeez.')
Here's a comedic glimmer. More than a glimmer, a flash of light like someone on the opposite hilltop has lifted their glass of water in the sunlight, to take a sip.
Yesterday we were walking home, and Leafy was running on ahead. Lately he's been doing what Becca calls the Forrest Gump version of running: we set out, and he starts running and just keeps on RUN-NING. He's almost always within sight, and we are usually on a straight path around the hillside when he's doing this. But yesterday we had to take a left, to go up the hill, and he kept on to the right and down. Kid A and YaYa got a whiff of this, and they took off after him, while Becca and I calmly plodded along, unaware of the drama ensuing. I saw them disappear around a curve and said, "Hey kids! You're going the wrong way!"
They yelled back that they were bringing Leafy home. Becca went to go see what was up, and I loitered on the path with Solo, giving lame little waves to people who climbed past me. When we were finally all together, I heard the story. Leafy had just kept on running down the stone path, with YaYa and Kid A in frantic pursuit, YaYa calling out to hikers who were headed in the opposite direction: "Please help us catch him!" By the time they all caught up, he was resting on a rock, and they were practically all the way down the hill.
It was pretty funny. He then turned around and ran up the hill, to our house. I don't know what's up with this running thing, but it is a glimmer.
There are many glimmers, and I am trying to treasure these days, minutes, hours. I am tired, but with my pencil held weakly in one hand I am sketching something for us all to remember when we are older. Making chapatti in the kitchen, playing cards, sitting on a blanket with knitting and pencils and a rubber dinosaur. Lots of baby kisses.
(Not shrill, not exasperated, but more like a humming, a thrumming, a whirring, like the wing beats of a thousand birds. They all shout yes yes! You are loved you are loved! The earth beneath your feet is humming with it, whispering: Beloved. Lay your head down. Let it swell up and over you. Be loved. This is the biggest truth, the greatest truth: The Maker, The Life King, He loves you.
Climb into it. Don't hide cringing in the corner, walk out and let it find you. The days are like a long line ahead of you and in them is the capacity for a great stomping, chummy, heart-easing, devastating love that you must open yourself up to. It is your life work.)