When we left the hospital, the middle-aged nurse leaned in close over the wheelchair and stage-whispered, “You think you love him now — just you wait!” I now realize this was elliptical, and she suppressed a grin wheeling our empty chair back through the motion-sensored glass doors, silently adding, “…until you find yourself standing in his room, veins bulging, screaming, ‘NO! Get up NOW! Your room smells of stinking feet and SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE!!!’ “
Fudge: [appearing downstairs, well past bedtime]
Us: “What are you doing down here? You’re about to get in big trouble!”
Fudge: “No, but wait! I need to tell you something important!”
Me: “It better be good.”
Fudge: “My hand smells like cheese.”
No balled-up wads near the bottom of the trash can, no integrated stacks in the recycling. You’re dealing w/a pro here. Shredding “artwork” while the kids are at school.
Few parenting moments are as rewarding as locking the windows open while driving through a bustling Little 5 Points, Def Leopard’s “Photograph” cranked at full volume, singing and loudly encouraging your shrunken children to join in.
We’re at lunch, telling Sadie the story of Secretariat, and we build up to the last race and Sadie squinches up her face and says, “Are you CRYING?!” and I fan my eyes and go, “Yeah,” and she acts like I’m a weirdo and says, “Why?” and I sigh and half-smile and say, “Because that’s the difference b/t kids and adults. You don’t know enough yet to cry when you’re happy.”
Every once in a while you get this tiny little memory-shake of what it’s like to be a kid, imagining everything as something else. We have one of those coffee grinders where you pour the beans in the top, set the number of cups you want, and the right amount of beans passes down through the blade to the bottom canister. I wasn’t sure if there were enough beans to make the 8-cup pot I wanted, so I stood there mesmerized as the grinder went about its grisly work, pulverizing beans into a granulatory mass. Staring at the slowly diminishing bean level, I started imagining them as little individuals, trapped in a Star Wars-type situation, like when the walls of that trash-compacter thing are closing in on Leia and Luke and Han Solo and you’re waiting breathless, wondering how they can possibly avoid being smushed, but then at the last possible second they frantically work together to induce some sort of mechanical failure, and the walls stop and they slide relieved down to sitting, blowing hair out of eyes and shaking heads in disbelief, silently exhilarated by the near-catastrophe, more alive for being nearly dead.
So then I start rooting for the beans, willing the whirring blades to stop before the last few trickle into the conical opening to face their gruesome end. To my delight, on cue, the grinder halts, the last 3 beans trembling then settling untouched in its base. I let out a little snort-shrug of amusement, dumping the less fortunate grounds into a filter, the nameless, disposable Rebel Alliance extras. The coffee maker glurps and steams to life as I putter around the kitchen, imagination receding into routine, a bean is a bean is a bean.