We’re incredible, you and me. We should be fetal and weeping, all the things that come our way. But we barely notice as we act like waking up this morning erases all the times he woke us up last night, the poor boy and his cutting teeth and whatever the rattling wind did to his dreams. He pulls himself up by the rail of his crib again, and starts, softly at first, with a little “mama?”
I know because I can’t sleep anyway, and I’ve been staring at his monitor for an hour, his every little whimper illuminating another light on the meter – I’ll go see him when the lights reach the red.
You know because you are Mother, and his every little whimper is a tug on the pants in your dreams like another simple hint that nothing’s real while you’re sleeping. Nothing’s real ’til you can’t tell if that’s him crying or you dreaming or something shouting on the TV that you fell asleep to. Nothing’s really real ’til you can’t tell what is anymore.
Maybe he’ll fall back asleep just in time for us to get up for work.
And in the fog of another morning we are buried under the things. But we’re incredible, you and me. We should be dim and unresponsive, if we could afford the lapse. But we barely notice as we give the girl a “good morning” and a choice – oatmeal or cereal? She has crested the stairs carrying the giant bags under her eyes that her father gave her and she says “cer- no, oatmeal.” The stilted, harried ballet of eating and bathing and dressing gets eased by our adoration of them as we watch the – I’m already late.
In the evening we find that we’re all here late, as late comes earlier and earlier every year – every month, really. But we’re incredible, you and me. We should be hunched and scuffling, if we could move that fast. But we barely notice and we make a little dinner and go “ga-ga” to the boy and “use your manners” to the girl and we smile and have a family hug. Then off to bed, right?
No, she wants to hear some music, because she knows how her brother dances to everything that isn’t silence, and God help her, she can’t help herself from dancing along. Or at least laughing so hard at her brothers hapless jiggles that she shakes like she’s dancing, anyway.
The old men on the TV continue to beat each other silly until they aren’t recognizable as anything that could have ever danced at all, while the old man in the house has his chair and a sigh that comes out like the ghost of his grandparents rushing to turn up the radio . A sigh that works like amnesia for whatever might have happened that day. Things go a little slow motion right here, and I can’t tell if the soundtrack to this – the familial troupe of unbalanced dancers – is in my ears or in my eyes. I don’t much care. The television disappears with a click, a ferry horn blasts in the distance. The music plays and my people dance.
We’re incredible, you and me.