It’s 12:42 a.m.
I am a wake.
a 3 year old
a 2 year old
and a 35 year old
are all asleep because
“that’s what we have to do if we want it to be tomorrow”
Miriam did not buy this anymore than I do.
8:30pm She’s crying in her bed, I can’t do this, i can’t fall asleep!
9:30pm still crying and I become an angry mom
i lob empty threats about sweets and spankings and get no where
“Miriam, no more, you have to sleep, or else this and that.”
When she had no more excuses for why she could not sleep
(the closet door moved, I need a blanket over my light even though it will start a fire. . . )
And when I had no more ammunition (No cookies in church on sunday, i’m gonna call your dad)
I opened the door,
“Can I show you this miriam?”
I can tell she’s wondering if this is a cruel trick.
Nope. I’m all out of fight and so I show her the bathroom
“You and Lucy now have your own drawer”
fresh with it’s own rusted muffin tin to host the
six different sorts of hair bobbles that girls collect, no matter the continent.
After Miriam carefully added a brush and a bottle of no tears shampoo to her drawer.
without effort, she went into her room, crawled beneath her quilt,
sang a few more rounds of “Matchmaker” and fell asleep.
And now it’s 12:52.
Whether it was the admittedly obsessive organizing escapade that had me sorting buttons and hairpins and where do all those pennies come from anyways?
or the tidal wave of anger and angst that managed to mangle my inner world a week early,
whether it was the literal 4 foot pile of mending I uncovered as I hauled out the innards of my sewing cabinet,
it echoed from inside,”I can’t do this.”
and then the memories began to play like an old projector film against the back of my eyelids, or maybe more like those red plastic binocular shaped toys that cycled through tiny photos of Disneyland and Niagra falls
first a simple shot of the inside of mom’s kitchen cabinet that housed a weird assortment of casserole dishes. I do not like that they are not organized.
Then a shot of my dad bending around the back door to reach for his keys on the infamous night he tried to end his life.
The photo switches to my childhood best friend’s wedding, it will be this June and I will see all of the people I can’t remember.
And this calls to mind my old cello teacher, first the one who lived an hour by traffic away and then the one who was refurbishing a money pit with her husband.
I remember that it used to bother me more,
the fact that Nate could casually run into old coaches and high school acquaintances.
But i don’t think I mind so much anymore that my worlds from Vancouver, and Houston and Honduras and Wheaton are slipping past readily available memory rooms and into the basement files of my mind where they are probably going to mildew and get ruined, which is the state of my childhood scrapbook unearthed this week.
“Lord,I would ask tonight,
if you wouldn’t mind holding it all,
each of the worlds that somehow do piece together in your hand
with room enough for a few stray buttons and a 4 foot mound of mending.