Autumn is by far my favorite time of year. Because of all the typical reasons. You know, the foliage, the great holidays, the beautiful cool weather, the smell of the first fires of the season, the apples and pumpkins and sudden desire to bake delicious pies and stuffed acorn squash, cook chili, and snuggle up under warm blankets. And something I will never grow tired of: walks in the woods with my buddy(ies). The mosquitoes are finally gone, and it’s not too cold or wet or slippery. It’s just… perfect.
We need these walks to keep us sane right now. It hasn’t been an easy week with Andrew in San Fran teaching another class. One or both bums are often screaming, or pooping, or making some sort of ridiculous mess, or jumping from FOUR steps up onto the basement floor which thank the LORD is carpeted. While Milo was on his mini potty, he decided to get up mid-poop and go get a little baseball he felt he could not live without for the next forty seconds. He came back to finish the deed and then I heard, “Oh, nooooo! Mommy! I dwopped my baseball in da poo-poo!” Well of course you did, because Oliver is screaming inconsolably and the dog is barking at some deer in the backyard and the garbage disposal is leaking disgusting smelly food-water into the cabinet below our sink which is where we keep our dustcloths and some extra undies for Milo and the garbage is overflowing and we’re running out of clean laundry and the floor is sticky because of the apple juice that was spilled there earlier and what’s that? You are pooping on top of the baseball now?
Yes. So what do I do? I can’t just call it a day and flush the baseball down the toilet because God only knows how far down it would make it before clogging the toilet and then I’d really be… what’s that phrase? So I have to fish through butt mud with a plastic bag on my hand, find the precious marble-sized baseball (should I even be letting my two-year-old play with this?!) and give it a thorough cleaning while I throw up in my mouth a little.
Yeah, laugh now, because that day was a close-to-tears one. But I have to laugh. Because how do I want to look back at this time? And how do I want my sons to remember their childhood? And their mother? Is it universal to not want your children to know how enraged, how frustrated, and how lonely you sometimes feel as a parent? How utterly, ridiculously inadequate you sometimes feel? I so want to stay positive, to be fun and lighthearted and patient, patient, patient. And to show no sign of sarcasm or exhaustion in my voice when you tell me “NOOOOOO!” for the 167th time as I attempt to get one bite of food (something, anything!) into your little belly. But some days are so hard!
And then the birds.
Yes, this is all the same day.
And then Andrew comes home for a day before heading to NY and says to Milo as we walk to the playground, “Do you know how to say ‘squirrel’ in Spanish?” and Milo replies,
“Squirrel in Spanish.”
And everything is right with the world.