Raising a family - nurturing a crowd of respectful, inquisitive and creative future citizens of the Earth. Eating dinner together. Fostering connection with those next to you, those around you, those in your daily round. This is the easy stuff, right?
Today was a typical Tuesday afternoon here at the Yellow House: shouts of THE BUS!!! sprints to meet The Big Sister, rapid fire debriefing/homework/snack and then dashing back out the door to track down playmates. I managed the politics of three year olds in the sandbox, and whilst slapping at post-Irene late September mosquitoes, my mind wandered dangerously close to the Big Ideas that loiter in the shadows of half-thought and distraction.
I blinked twice and it was already 6.10 - far too late to be starting dinner but the very soonest it could've happened. Crouching in front of the fridge I waited to be inspired, then gave up & started heating tomato sauce, water to boil pasta, sliced zucchini to steam.
Then it was 7, and the lights were quieted through the house. My three kids sat, and somehow all the glow of the late evening centered itself around our long table. Tonight the candles - so often forgotten and left unlit - cast a spell that meant silliness spilled onto the plates more than salt. Our youngest held the floor as she told us all about her first day of preschool; Lars told us about his first official math test of 1st grade, and Ms ThreeDaysAwayFromNINE explained Brief Constructed Responses to mystified parentals.
I took a break from the milk pouring, the cheese grating, the Use-Your-Napkin reminders. I listened with all my heart - to the giggles, the elementary school jokes, the older two remembering their first days at preschool - and the truth shouted at me all around the table.
It isn't easy. In so many ways it's 1000% more difficult than rocket science or brain surgery because there are no rules, no degrees one can get that teach you how to build a family. That teach you how important the Tuesday night penne & marinara meal will be in the piece-by-piece construction of a life.
It's a beautiful quote from that Annie Dillard on writing: no one ever said it would be easy.
No one ever did.
Not the writing, not the parenting, not the building of a life.
No one ever said it would be easy. But the hard makes every living moment of our dinner time tonight worth it.
Time for Just Write again tonight my friends. I was humbled beyond measure by all the kind comments on the post last week, after such a very long time away from the keyboard. This may be a less lyrical attempt, but inspired by Heather and the incredible Annie Dillard, tonight I had to Just Write all over again. Until next time.