For Today

My husband is gone, and will remain gone for much of the month. In this community, where deployment or extended unemployment is the norm, it is simply unacceptable to complain about this fact. He is working, and he is gone for just a month. I am lucky.

When he is gone, which has happened for extended-ish periods twice now during our time in Spain, I feel a strength that doesn’t exist when he is around. There is no hand-off or backup. So, it’s on me, and things get done. That’s it.

But, there is also a cocooning. I turn down invitations, stay behind my gates. I surrender.

I hold onto objects, these telling little talismans. The bowl of tomatoes–bursting with red, warm sunshine—has shrunk over the week. I’ve fed myself real food, and the boys too. A small victory.

We’ve started knitting hats on looms, and we weave together thread, binding colors.

When I was tutoring one evening, the boys were being watched by a friend. They were difficult, and when we returned home, I placed them in bed, and turned off the lights. I blinked back tears and reviewed the many ways in which I am a distant, or impatient, or passive mother.

I wonder if they are learning, or I am failing.

And then, I knitted a yellow hat. The stitches lined up, and the loose strings rested at home. I placed it at my oldest’s spot at breakfast. I can’t do so much, but I can do this.

I took away all electronics as a consequence for bad behavior at school, even though, as I face a long weekend alone, I yearn for the release of a movie, for something to channel that relentless energy.

We will play Monopoly tonight, a game I despise on so many levels. Maybe we will walk to the peatonal, or take a cafe on the beach. On Saturday, we will buy a large fish at the market, and grill it.

Right now, I don’t want to do any of these things. I want to sleep for days, a deep, drooling slumber.

But instead, I will walk down to school, and we will return home. We will eat tomatoes and tuna fish, and maybe knit or read a bit in the sunshine. I will try not to count down the minutes, try to be a better person than I actually am.

Knitting a childhood can be tedious, snarled, frustrating.

And so be it. Just a bit more today. One stitch at a time. I’ll make them clean, I’ll make them straight, and if I make a mistake, I’ll do it again.

3 thoughts on “For Today

  1. I’m a bit older than you and my kids are grown, but I was a stay-at-home mom for most of my kids’ childhoods. And my husband’s job, though it didn’t take him physically away for weeks, had a difficult, constantly changing schedule. I loved how you expressed your feelings, frustrations AND the accomplishments (though they may feel small.) Be encouraged…what you are investing now will reap great rewards! šŸ™‚

  2. You nailed it, Nancy.
    The knitting together of a childhood IS tedious, snarled and frustrating.

    But you have found beauty in it, still.

    Ahora y siempre.

  3. And in the end, a lovely hat. You know I’ve always loved your writing, but I find it changing ever so slightly through your time in Spain. It’s lyrical and delicious and reaching a point of near poetry. And that’s not me blowing sunshine. šŸ™‚

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