Listen, kid: you are this close to finding in your lunch bag a box of Mori-Nu silken tofu and a spoon, mmkay? Next time I pack you a lovingly made red bean and broccoli quesadilla, bag of blueberries, mini chocolate chip zucchini muffins THAT I LET YOU HELP MAKE, and ten chocolate chips plus raisins, and you tell me that you ate the chocolate chips AND NOTHING ELSE, you will go on a culinary tour of the Least Suitable Lunch Foods of the World That Happen to Be in Our Pantry. Thursday is dry couscous day. So eat your fucking lunch, honey. Okay? Can you do that?
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But seriously: S did a week of Basic Swim day camp, and I am incredibly impressed with her -- not just for learning all the new skills but at navigating the uncharted social waters of a camp where she didn't know anybody. She's a girl after her mama's heart, and boy, I know that takes a lot out of her. But she did it -- learned to swim, came home with silly songs and a sunburn, and managed not to have a meltdown all week long. When did she grow up so much? Where'd my baby go? Do I really have to send her to kindergarten?
I adore little larval newborns, the slow flowering of personality; I find toddlers and preschoolers challenging but charming. My fantasies of motherhood always stopped right about age 5, though, and I never thought much about parenting older children. I'm starting to see how much fun -- and how devastating -- that's going to be.
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In other news: Dad. His medical needs are numerous at this point. The new liver seems to be a success thus far but he needs to eat more protein (to eat more, period), he needs to heal that surgical wound and gain some muscle strength back, and he has to do those things so they can fix his hernia. If not for the hernia he'd be ready to go home, just about, but the hernia really compromises his ability to sit, move, walk, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
His demeanor was hauntingly sweet when I saw him. Part of that was the Percocet, but most of the time he wasn't on any kind of painkillers. He seemed like he'd been away somewhere, baffled at his return, in pain at times but barely tethered Earthside, other times. He wanted to hear about his grandchildren; he wanted to hear what I remembered about my own childhood. I told him story after story: the time we went to the Ozarks, caught sunfish which we turned in for prizes at the canteen. The way he swore putting together our old metal swingset, how much fun we had playing on it. Taking our irascible dog Peaches into the horse fields behind the house to run through the grass, flushing birds and terrorizing the occasional jogger. He listened, delighted, either at the memories themselves or at the idea that I had these memories, happy, of him. He'd drift off, listening, a beatific smile on his face.
I was angry, before. Justifiably so, of course -- don't worry, I'm not feeling bad about feeling mad (or any of the other fascinating, complex, old and new feelings) -- but yeah, angry. The first time I saw him sick it was like a punch in the gut. I felt sick inside but no less angry; after all, he very literally brought it on himself -- and, of course, all of us.
Now, though. The energy of that anger seems to have dissipated. It's not so simple as believing he's done the correct penance and now deserves the cure; no. The anger cleared away and now I can see how much he's been suffering for so long -- not just the interior anguish but the physical pain he endured as a result. He's lived through years of excruciating pain and embarrassing side effects, taken terrible care of his physical self. I am astonished that he has survived.
And I'm terribly glad, too.