Moments I’m Grateful For
Last night I followed the sound of voices up to Gleek’s room where I found Howard, Kiki, and Gleek in a spirited conversation about a game they all love. This morning it happened again in the kitchen, only the topic was writing, language,the game, and storytelling. Kiki and Howard have long had conversations like this, but somewhere in the past few months Gleek passed a threshold and now she participates too. It makes me happy to hear them.
Link will walk toward me and throw his arms wide indicating that he wants a hug. He is much larger than me these days, but never went through a stage where he didn’t want hugs. Neither of my boys have. I’m glad of that, because hugs are a good and healing thing.
My two sons sit next to each other at their computers. Images on the screen move and jerk as they pilot their characters through imaginary worlds. They are playing a game together. From the other room I hear the rumble of their voices even when I can’t always hear what they are saying. It was so strange when Link’s voice dropped low, now Patch has joined him so that it takes me a moment to recognize which of them is speaking. Though if Patch keeps growing, his voice may go deeper than his older brother’s. They’re almost matched for height right now despite the six year difference in age. Periodically they erupt into shouts as something particularly exciting happens in the game. I listen and am glad that they’ve found ways to play together.
The cat yells at me. It is a long yowling sound which demands attention. So I turn to her and try to figure out what she wants. Sometimes it is a door opened, other times it is food. Frequently she needs me to pet her before she eats. Since the weather has turned cold she has spent more time demanding that I sit down and provide a lap for her to sleep on. I bend over and dangle my hand where she can come rub herself against it. She does not like being picked up, but she loves scritches. She is soft under my hand and I think again about how I thought my allergies meant that we would never be able to have a cat. Then she came to us and my body adapted so that all I experience is occasional nasal congestion instead of massive, can’t-breathe asthma attacks I used to get around cats. This animal has twined her way into our lives and hearts more thoroughly than I would have expected. She is getting older, so I am grateful for every day we get to have.
The kids were not thrilled to be in the car, they had other things they’d rather do than be hauled around on errands with their Mom. Yet they were there because they understood that these particular errands were for their benefit and they all needed to be present. It is hard to take passport photos of a person if they stayed at home. The photos happened at a Walgreens and while we were waiting the kids wandered the aisles picking out treats. It has been a long time since all four of my kids were at a store together. I watched as they called each other to look at things. We departed with them more cheerful than they’d arrived. I listened to them in the car as we drove to our next stop. They chattered about games they’d played and things that they’d seen on the internet. All four of them participated in the conversation.
I watched the kids pause for each other as we climbed out of the car and navigated our entrance to the furniture store. I led them through the maze of couches and tables to where they could flop themselves onto mattresses. We decided that our big Christmas gift for the year was to buy new ones for the kids. They were all excited by this because they’d been complaining about their old ones for a while now. I watched them play Goldilocks: too soft, to firm, just right. They all would have liked the super mattress that was out of my price range, but were happy with the nicest we could afford. As soon as we got home the kids scattered to their separate pursuits, but they’ll remember picking out mattresses together.
“Are you okay?” Howard asked me. I wasn’t, so he stopped and sat down with me while I talked through some emotions I was processing. It’s been a tough year for me these past twelve months as we’ve been through diagnosis, therapy, and mental health management for several kids. Howard listened, said good things, and made me laugh. I am so fortunate to have him.
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