Thursday, May 15, 2008


Just finished Scott Russell Sanders A Private History of Awe, beautiful, rich, provoking heartbreak and soul-searching and yearning.

Today's reading: World Gone Beautiful by Linda Buturian. Still early, but I love her tone and candor about family life.

Countdown: five books to go, a critical paper (5-7 pages) to write, a whopping story to revise one more time. One May Fair this weekend (billion flower crowns to weave, clothes to choose for kids to dance in), one big whopping trip to make (top secret, will keep you posted), a fourth-grade bike trip to plan for, a teacher scrapbook to produce... I'm sure there's more but I'm forgetting.

Unlike my lawn (mostly dead from last years’ draught) the neighbor’s grass must be growing, since the hum of the lawnmower drowns out my daughter’s wailing. She keeps her homework binder at home, with one lesson per day, and the notebook is due on Friday morning. This is the first week she has slacked off, and she began the evening three nights of homework “behind.” Thus she did not get to run errands after dinner with her father and brother, and she is still wailing fifteen minutes after they left.

Wait, she tells me she is done wailing and would like to come smell the scent of grass in my bedroom. This might be a trick, but it’s worth trying. I worry that she will become distracted and not finish her homework at all. She claims every day that she’s forgotten all division, that she cannot possibly remember the 7 Times Table, that she can no longer subtract. She never claims that she’s forgotten how to read, spell, or play an instrument, and somehow she never forgets German—in this last respect she is far advanced from me, and I’m jealous. I whisper the German word for “plum cake,” and the word for “birthday,” my tiny remnants of college level language learning.

So here she is, lying down on the opposite end of my bed with her too-short black velour pants, the ones with the knee worn to transparent. A giant pink fleece sweater. Blue and purple paisley socks. She wears a lavender headband of her own design, crafted from a scrap of wool. And the scratch of her pencil is good company. She hums while she works, which is preferable to doing her math out loud. When she lifts her notebook for a minute, I see that she is concentrating hard, unlike her work before dinner. She must’ve needed to eat.

I need to do my homework, too, and I’m so much more than three days behind. I didn’t get to go on errands either, but then, I’d much prefer homework. I’m reading a delightful book. The story I’m writing is exciting and I can’t wait to get back into it, when the possibility of interruptions is a little lower. So, back to the delightful book. The dishwasher is cleaning tonight’s dishes, the clothes washer is set for the next load (tomorrow, since the dryer vent is still broken and the damp air fills the room when I run it). The living room is clean with the exception of four loads of laundry to fold and put away.

She’s on the last problem “on this page,” then one more full page of math to do. Boys will return with dessert and other good stuff, soon. My book is right…. Here.

1 comment:

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

thank you for this slice of life.