slightly awry

I’m driving my mother to a medical procedure this morning. It’s suddenly become cold – so icy out that I am delayed. The car heater does not work, so defrosting the windshield takes overlong. I end up driving with my windows down so I can see and within moments I am deeply, stunningly cold.

There is nothing like the discomfort of extreme elements to sharply bring one to the moment.

My mother is anxious. The preparation for her procedure has been unpleasant; she is hungry, and did not sleep last night. Her face is pinched and anxious; she is small and angry like a dried apple doll. She doesn’t know where to check in, so we ride elevators up and down. I try to stay off my phone as much as possible. Radiate calm. Despite the hundred and four things not quite going my way – I think my brake linings are going out! – I know it’s not the time to talk about any of that.

Leaving my mother in the hands of physicians for an hour, I am home to rustle up my children and take the eldest to class. Both children are unhappy: my daughter dreads an assignment today – my son wants to sleep. Then there’s work: my job is my job: low pay, twice as much work as I’d have time to do, but constantly being asked to cut my hours.

My daughter has a bowl of cereal and bundles up; she is tough. Her face, maturing into womanhood, still has some of that babyish look – the full cheeks, the slanted eyes. Her short haircut emphasizes today’s resemblance to her toddlerhood, and I feel a pang of loss.

My son, I placate with a hot Egg McMuffin.

And it’s wonderful to be doing for the family, to be with just the kids. I had so many years with them, that it feels like the normal thing.

Later: I pull on a new hat I’ve sewn, a slouchy beany. Then a hoodie. Down to the basement studio to work on a Christmas present. The kids clean the kitchen and start the dishwasher: a comforting sound.

The temperature hovers around freezing; melting, then re-solidifying the ice. No one has a fall. Darkness descends and I put my sewing away; upstairs and a fire in the fireplace.

Another day. <3 <3 <3 

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