"No, I said, ‘I want a Fig Newton’!"

Revelation #5 in my up-and-coming bestselling book on “How To Get Through Raising Kids Without Feeling Like You’re Being Kicked In The Nuts”:

Getting up early and having some time to yourself changes your life.

Of course when you have young ones, for a few years it happens that “getting up before the kids” would consist of rather drastic measures (say, a 4 AM rising in order to get a shower in and sip a cup of coffee before the littlest one fusses and your stomach sinks into your shoes). During these years it helps to try to remember kids eventually learn, like we adults well know, to keep one’s ass in bed as long as possible, whenever possible. Some mornings my preschooler sleeps in with such hedonistic glee as to be almost embarrassing. For instance yesterday I crawled into bed with her at 8:30 (school starts at 9 and we are not going to be late) and stroked her, whispered lovely stories about schoolmates to her, squeezed her bum, waved a peanut butter sandwich under her nose, and in every way tried to coax her into a gentle wakeup. She pulled her nasty, slobbery thumb out of her mouth long enough to mumble, “I love this,” before rolling to her side and scooting her pointed bottom closer against me to spoon.

But I digress. This morning for the first time my walking group (today, all 2 of us) did not walk out of fear of the storm outside but instead sat in the coffee shop chatting for 48 minutes. When I got home the house was still sleeping. The quiet was delicious. I “puttered about” (yes, I used that phrase in my mind as I did it) doing laundry, tidying the sewing room and washing diapers, until finally, one by one, each member of the family came stumbling out of repose and most of them headed straight into my arms. My children were tousle-haired and smiling as if the sight of Mama was exactly their favorite way to wake up (it probably is). Thrilled with the somewhat unorthodox breakfast meal I threw together of roasted glazed garbanzo beans (seriously, they’re good) and peanut butter sandwiches (Ralph’s the one who makes a proper breakfast), my oldest regaled us with all the ways her meal in fact was composed of dinosaur food. Both kids smiled at my husband and I and pet us both and begged us to sing them songs from their current favorite album (Death Cab For Cutie’s “Transatlanticism”), including the “dum dum dum-dum” strummings of the guitar in the intro of “Title and Registration”.

I have a lovely family.

This afternoon, in another one of those weird moments where in one second you think something totally goofy is going on, and in another second you realize you had a misunderstanding and really an entirely other goofy thing is happening, I called my mom and after about ten minutes of conversation she airily said,

“Oh! I have a message for you. This guy called for my rack and wants you to email him.”

Silence on my end. (What the fuck did she just say?)

I feel oddly guilty, as if whatever is happening involves some sort of harassment, brokered by me, on my unawares church-going Mama who was just trying to mind her own business. Have I said anything about her boobs lately? I think, vacantly. But her tone is just too convivial to harbor any annoyance. I am momentarily paralyzed.

She repeats herself, “He called from Iraq, he’s in the Army. He wants you to email him. He left me his address – let me go get it.”

I’m over the first weirdness and into a second bout of surrealism. First I think, well whoever this guy is I can’t say no to that. A fucking soldier over there, of course I have to email him. Then I’m thinking, Who do I know over there? No one. Who do I know in the military? Is this some guy who’s been holding a torch for me for years and I don’t even remember him? No, wait. No one holds a torch for me. Wishful thinking. P.S. at my high school reunion this year I was dogged by a man who insisted he was in my class and I should remember him. I didn’t. I don’t know why my brain has gaping holes in it, but yeah – it does some times.

My mom picks up her phone again and tells me the name. I recognize him as a buddy from my hometown that I got to know better in college. I remind my mom of who he was. I will email him tomorrow. And I will investigate this guilty conscience regarding harassing my mom.

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