The fire is so delightful

DIARY

The rain is really pounding outside.


It’s a good night for the first fire of the season in the wood stove. Outside, a cold November rain is falling–no, pounding–marking the end of a damp, bitter Veteran’s holiday. Kelly and I took the kids down to Concord mall to walk the great loop of stores, their festive decorations already out, sleigh bells alighting from upward in the rafters, a pervasive, fragrant spice following us from one shop to another, no agenda whatsoever.

I am not usually a fan of taking the children to the mall–mostly because it involves them jumping about on a soft, indoor playground while I sit at a table with the other parents, left to thumb our way around our phones while the kiddos chase each other around their walled dominion.

The Concord mall lacks a large, designated playspace, so we shopped, and the kids enjoyed looking–looking, not buying–and I made notes of what they lingered over most. Notes for later.

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The Ballad of Busy

FAMILY

Somewhere in between the balance of this crazy hustle is a sweet, sweet spot.


My alarm on weekday mornings goes off at 6:40 a.m. — the latest I can sleep in and still have just a few minutes with Kelly, Julia, and Thomas before they hop in the van and go to school. They are often basking in a half-episode of screen time, often the only television they get during the school week, which gives Kel the chance to pack backpacks and find order before departure. Then: kisses and hugs and good wishes and goodbyes.

Annie is still asleep and hopefully will be for another hour. I pull on my sneakers and go downstairs to the elliptical. Someone I do not know figured out I was Mrs. Hogan’s husband recently, and when we bumped into each other downtown last week, told me that his elementary-school aged daughter saw me working out most mornings. (The elliptical is in front of a window in the back of the house, where East Elementary School Road car-rider traffic crawls by.) So I discovered I am the brief entertainment of hundreds of children through the week.

I watch the news while I work out for 25 minutes, then drink a glass of cold water, then feed the bigger dog and scratch her ears for a couple of minutes. Then, time for a shower and shave, time to get dressed (quick check of my calendar for the day to determine if I can get away with a polo shirt; Thursday I could not), time to wake up Annie, who was stirring anyway.

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Laboring Away

As of September 2nd, 2018, I am…

Relieved by: so far being able to manage work, board memberships, volunteer efforts, and graduate school requirements. It’s not neat and tidy, and I have never felt my life so full, but so far I’ve tightened everything down and tried to awaken every ounce of discipline and keep myself on task. It’s working. Perhaps I’m a little bit surprised–but only because I’ve never had this many balls in the air. I won’t waste too much time bragging on myself, lest I drop one.

Grateful for: the last week of open pools. This swimming season has flown by. We switched our pool membership this year, opting for the local club pool instead of the rec center water park. Fewer of Kel’s students show up–not that it’s a bad thing, but just that it’s less relaxing when you’re mobbed by little people incredibly excited to see you. Looking back at what I’d written just a couple of months ago, it’s remarkable to see how far our kids have come as swimmers. Julia and Thomas have both earned their own passes; both jump off diving boards and into deep ends with nary a flotation device nearby. And Annie gleefully jumps in and doesn’t want to leave. I’ll be sad (especially since the weather’s still hot) to not have this as a destination. 

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