Here you are…

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Here it is and we’re home, and it’s so fresh and smelling vaguely of boiled carrots. That’s the smell I associate with houses built in the fifties: hardwood floors, smooth clean lines, and boiled carrots (if you sniff hard enough, a vague sort of roast beef smell will also waft up to greet your nose in a wave of nostalgia that isn’t yours). The house is all put together, and it’s pretty. Our landlord Jack came over last night to fix the dishwasher and kind of roughly sighed and said, This is really welcoming. It looks like you’ve been here for years, not a few days. I replied that I have a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and I have to have things in their proper place less than 24 hours after we arrive in a new place. Unfolded clothes make my stomach hurt. Books in a jumble make me weep (what if their spines are hurting them? What if the tiny strings and glue that are holding them together give out, and I’ve ruined a book?). I’m not terrifically organized, though. The books that are lined up in a neat, mod little row are merely aesthetically pleasing. They are not shelved in the standard Dewey Decimal System or even alphabetically arranged. I do my nesting fast, and hard, and in a whirlwind of butcher paper and tissue. Objects kind of tornado up, and then settle, and the myriad disarray is hidden away in the trashcan, ready for the curb on Thursday.

I did another cleanse by fire in here a few minutes ago. I just did one last week, right after we got the keys but before anything more than a few canvas bags had been moved in. I wanted to do one again because Xander and I had a bit of a rough morning (neither of us are morning people, Gary isn’t either but he keeps it together a bit better than X and I do). We always have rough mornings when school is in and Gary is out of town. Anyway, I accidentally stepped on his heel, so he kicked me in the shin. He’s never been an overly aggressive kid, but the move and his age (almost 7) are brewing and shaking and making him a little feisty. I felt a tiny, hot bubble of anger form in my stomach and spanked his bottom twice, not overly hard but hard enough to make both of us feel a little terrible. I hate that. I hate that I can feel the scowl form on my face and I hate that sometimes I act without thinking first. (Because really, it’s true, spanking does absolutely NOTHING but make both parent and child feel like shit. But it happens sometimes, rarely, hardly ever, and I hate it and apologize to him for losing my cool and I hug him and he usually apologizes for kicking me in the shins or flinging a toy at me or whatever).

It’s a nasty thing, sometimes, this animal love we have for our children. We try so, so hard to be civilized and evolved, but sometimes I feel that I’m nothing more than a feral cat of a mother. I love him fiercely, though. I just wish he’d sometimes quit nipping at my heels.

They say that boys start to love their fathers more right around the age of seven. Until then, their mothers are goddesses of comfort and knowledge. Their fathers are fun and a little frightening with their loud, low voices, but they are not the boys’ favorites. That changes around the age of seven, when they start to realize that mothers are different. They are unabashedly female. They pout and put on lipstick and get their way. They are too soft. They don’t roughhouse as well as dads do. They’d rather be reading with you or doing an art project together than throwing a ball (or is that just me?).

So I am no longer cool and funny all the time. Gary is the number one parent, in X’s eyes. I know it’s normal. But my feelings are a bit tender. He did give me an extra long hug last night before bedtime. We were watching a Wild Kratts on the couch and he had blankets piled up on his legs. His blonde hair was wet and smelled like coconuts (or chemical coconuts, I doubt they use the real thing in those kid shampoos). We were talking and watching the show and he was impressing me with his knowledge about animals (fastest land animal: cheetah, fastest air animal: peregrine falcon, fastest sea animal: a tie between a type of tuna, a marlin, and a shark). Suddenly he dove over to my side of the couch and squeezed me tight, whispered I love you, and I was his amazingly wonderful mom again.

Being a mother makes my heart hurt a lot. In a good way. It’s a good sort of hurt.

So I took some photos. Will have to go back through and take some of the outside (because it is lovely). But I am impatient, so here you are.

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11 thoughts on “Here you are…

  1. What a lovely post. I love you image of boiled carrots. I don’t know how or why, but it’s perfect here in this opening paragraph and this era house. (You are right.) You have a great intuition for metaphor.

    Thanks for this lovely window in your life in your new house. I’m a new reader, so I don’t know how this all fits into your life before this house, this post, my subscribing. But thank you!

    Kathy

  2. Welcome home. It looks beautiful and the writing about the ups and downs of parenting — particularly boys — was just so beautiful.

  3. Ah, Elizabeth! I’m sure you have lots of wisdom to bestow since you’re raising two boys. The ups are so worth it, but the downs are super frustrating, aren’t they?

  4. Thank you very much for setting up such a lovely place for me to stay when I come visit one of these days 😉

  5. Once again, you brought me to tears. How well you put into words the emotions of mothering a son of this age. I can empathize with you in every aspect. Your home is beautiful and I cannot wait to visit.

"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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