"What if this room was made of glass..."
"...and I could see the stars."
(Over and over again, I learn the same lesson: that reality and perspective are entirely dependent on how we choose to shape them. Lately, the best lens to see clearly is my son.)
It's been one of those weeks.
Jonah was gone for four days, Friday through Monday. Usually when he returns, it takes him some time to adjust. He attaches himself to me, I bump into him when I turn around, he follows me from room to room, I have to peel him off of me when it's time to go to sleep. The transitions are getting more seamless as he gets older, but they are still hard--for him, for me.
He returned so tired.
I could see it in the way his eyes look, lacking luster, a bit heavy. Still Jonah, still happy, but...just tired.
I think sometimes about how, without any say, he is simply uprooted from all that he knows, spends several days in unfamiliar places, then plops back into the rhythm of life here, which never stopped moving. But he is not exactly the same kid. He brings back with him that period of experiential knowledge, along with an array of interactions, influences, experiences that--just like the ones he has day-to-day here--shape him in some way. I feel helpless not having a context to truly make sense of it. It is a disorienting feeling.
I wonder sometimes how that must feel to him.
I wonder when he will say, "I want the rhythms of my life to be determined by me." Someday he will say that in his own way and act upon it.
Running running running...
I've been running running running this week, early mornings to late evenings, for so many reasons. I'd like to say that I've been literally running, as the pavement pounded and the miles conquered always feed my soul. I rarely miss a day of running. But...alas, no. Each day, Jonah has been a sleepy boy--impossible to wake. This week has been a string of chaotic mornings, trying to get up and out. I felt rushed, frazzled, tired. At the same time, I was trying to wake and get a sleeping child up and at 'em. Perhaps later, it will seem comical: I brought him downstairs. He fell back asleep. I took him to the living room and went to get something. He fell back asleep. I put him back on the bed for a bit while I showered. He was snoring, deeply asleep, when I got back. And so I had to start the wake-up-Jonah process over and over again.
Lying for awhile with Jonah tonight, sentiments of this nature were sticking in my head:
--I looked in the mirror and found a long, long white hair sticking out of my head.
--I squeezed out some time to make it to the gym, but forgot my running shoes.
--I lost my computer charger.
--I found my computer charger.
--I lost it again. I found it again (yes, I did that twice this week!)
--I thought about meals to cook but couldn't find time to cook them.
--We had Cheez-its for breakfast one morning (I am giving myself permission not to feel awful about that!).
--I lost my keys.
--I lost my flash drive.
--I forgot my teaching binder on the day I was teaching.
--I found my keys, I found my drive.
--I never found the minutes I lost looking for those things.
I lose things when there are too many things in my mind, fighting for space.
I am tired.
I got exasperated that he was active, silly, unable to settle, with eyes wide open and percolating questions. His eyes looked tired, but his mind and body were awake. After awhile, he turned to lie on his back and started whispering to himself. Initially exasperated, I listened for a moment, and then I asked him what he was saying. Jonah--sweet Jonah--turned his head toward me, blinked those incredibly long lashes at me a few times, looked back up toward the ceiling, and he said,
"I was thinking, what if this room was made of glass, and I could see the stars..."
When he said "room" he made a sweeping gesture with his arms, and I could imagine the whole room made of glass. In that moment, I saw the world as Jonah saw it, vividly.
A glass room.
With that gesture, all the impatience and exasperation of this week simply melted away. Instead, I felt a rush of very different thoughts. I remembered them in vivid images, like this:
--A moment of conversation with the amazing Tom Doyle, during which a fleeting but beautiful full rainbow serendipitously appeared over the Howard Street Bridge.
--Coming home to the warmth and heavenly scent of a woodfire, built by Jonah and Dug to await my arrival home.
--The quality of light today, when the sunshine sparkled brighter than it has in awhile, and Jonah whipped off his hat in the backseat to say, "This sun is making me hot!"
--The synergy of a classroom full of thinking souls, teachers-to-be, engaged in meaningful conversation.
--The scent of citrus and ginger that captured my senses, and made me wonder where it was coming from.
In sharing a magical moment of clarity with Jonah, I therefore have a better perspective on...everything.
What a week it's been.
He is finally asleep. At 10:00pm. I hope he is still seeing stars.