1. The other day was one of those days when I can’t seem to get ahead. I ran from thing to thing, never finishing any job, I was unsuccessful at getting the baby down for a nap, and the older kids rollicked and shrieked downstairs while I tried. I desperately needed a shower, and finally locked myself in the bathroom, sighed, and turned the hot water on. I rubbed shampoo into my hair and then… I heard a voice. “MaMa!” the voice said, and it wasn’t one of my kids. It was Nuan, the lady who comes and helps with cleaning one day a week. It wasn’t her day, but she had been helping us clean up the meditation center the day before. I went to the door, but she was down the hall, still calling me. (I don’t know why she calls me Mama. Ma means come in Thai, so I kind of think she’s telling me to come, but I’m not sure.) I wrapped myself in a towel and stood on my front porch, soaking wet, hair full of soap. She wanted the keys to the kitchen at the meditation space because she had managed to get a friend to loan her the use of a truck to pick up some bamboo siding that we didn’t want anymore. I told her I would finish showering and then try to help her. It was the crowning moment in a morning that wanted to thwart me.
2. Later in the day, though, Leaf and I rolled out into the countryside on my scooter, driving away on a two to three hour escape plan. I left all the things that needed to be cleaned still, the unchecked things on my list. I let it be known that I wasn’t going to cook dinner, and we left! We drove past rice paddies in full green explosion, past purple flowering trees. We passed hills with clouds over them, bridges over rivers, graceful bamboo stands, tall chickens in villages, young monks in orange playing soccer. We had a long talk, we caught up, and we wound up in a little café with a tea and a smoothie in front of us. It was a complete turn around. My interrupted shower was in the distant past. I forgot all about it as patches of sun and cloud rolled over us on the motorbike.
3. That night, I snuggled with Leafy and Solo before we went to sleep. Here’s a little sample of our conversation:
Me: “I’m going to go, but I have put so much of my love in your heart that you always have it. If you need it, you can just reach in and find it, and say, ‘My mama loves me.’
Solo: (Puts his hand in his mouth to pretend to reach down his throat.) “I’ll reach down and pull out my heart and give it to you.”
Leafy: “Yeah, Kai said sword swallowers have to move their hearts to the side so they can swallow swords. We have a joke where we say that they could put their hearts at the back of their throats and take them out and give them to their girlfriends.”
Solo: “NO! To their Moms!”
Leafy: “Yes, but if they had a broken heart, and they took them out and really broke them, they would die.”
A short silence falls.
Leafy: “Unless they got a robot heart.”
(This is having sons. Talks of love take weird and delightful turns that always entertain me, especially when I’m really listening.)
4. Isaac is so close to crawling. He has this large radius, he can flip himself over and spin in circles, but he can’t get his belly off the floor and pull himself along, once he’s on his stomach. It will come, though, very very soon. He is a complete delight, the love of everyone’s life, the small smiling pile of cuddle that we all turn to, throughout the day. He has us all at his beck and call, including Brendan and Leaf or Maria and Issa when they come over. He is the chubbiest chubber, a slobbery, gummy smiled, delicious baby. How did we live without him?
5. Yesterday in the morning I left my house and walked over a bamboo bridge to get to the meditation space. I got a broom out of the kitchen to sweep the floor of the big building (we need to come up with names for these buildings) and pulled the cushions out. Brendan and Leaf and their son joined me. We sang and read Psalm 5 together. We prayed, I wrote, the birds sang around us. I’ve missed this, friends. This is an excellent new beginning.