…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.
This is the stuff. I think to myself as I sit down at the cramped kitchen table to nurse Sugarplum. The smell of the chicken that Lovey had spiced and seared wafts over me and lulls me deeper into the hormone hit I look forward to with each nursing. It’s easy in that brief moment of stillness. Of thick hungry scents of dinner to come. Of Ryan Adams crooning on the Pandora. Of Zuzu singing as she skips to the living room to reach the Netflix remote before the Quail can. Of the Quail happily setting out a specified color of Fiestaware for each member of the family to eat with.
It’s easy in those moments to breathe, and sigh and smile. And then the Quail realizes that the opportunity for Barney has been swiped by her sister and Zuzu realizes we are pouring her a glass of homemade kefir rather than milk and the baby realizes that the blanket she was snuggling has fallen under the table and she bites down as she wrenches herself off to lunge for it…again. And the noise pitch of all of these realizations in these too small rooms pound into my temple and the migraine I had been nursing all afternoon flares as my temper strikes and I holler for everyone to go take their baths so that we can eat, and do our homework and do our bite-bites and maybe, just maybe get everyone to bed before my head explodes or at least eight o’clock.
And just as quickly it stops and plates are served up and reassurances are made that you can just leave what you don’t want to eat and warnings are issued that if you walk away from the table your meal is done. And then the baby in her highchair utters a “bomp, bomp, bomp, bomp, bomp” in response to the command of “Everybody dance now!” that Zuzu has been chanting at random intervals since gym class with Ms. Young earlier that day. And the Quail sees me pull her beloved French bread from the toaster oven and starts signing her version of bread emphatically to be certain I don’t pass her up as I hand out the thickly cut and buttered slices and everyone sinks back into quiet chewing, the earlier tempers forgiven if not forgotten. The guilt of having lost my cool yet again as impulsively dumped as the tone itself had been issued.
This is the stuff. This is our life. These fluid threads of together and separate, of need, and impulse, and want and desire and plain ordinary chicken and bread, and days apart and evenings together that weave us into a blanket described as family that will wrap us tight and comfort us and infuriate us and catch us up all within the blink of an eye.
This is the stuff. This is what’s true. The anger, the tempers, the chaos, it’s no more real or true or authentic than the peace and the love and the feelings of joy. It’s all of it. It’s life together minute to minute, moment to moment, person to person. It’s family. It’s love. It’s true.