Right Here, Right Now
The Hugeness of Small Moments, and the Freedom in Being Stuck
is Cayce carrying the jug of milk, or is the jug of milk carrying him? I remember how he giggled, giddy a bit, just managing its heft, huffing as he wrestled it over to me at the counter and begging with his breathless It's heavy! for relief.
Isn't this the way it should always be in life, managing just as much as we can handle, taking ourselves to the brink, the tipping point, almost falling over, we're so full with our load, and then exuberant and bouyant, releasing it?
Ah my boy. He'll never be quite in this same relationship to a jug of milk again. Next week he'll manage its weight yet more easily, his fingers firmly gripping the handle he'll soon be finessing a spill-less pour all by himself at the counter. His step stool soon gone.
But this is now. This is three and never to be three again. My shrewd negotiatior of cookie rations will soon be negotiating deals or salaries or with hostage takers. He will be good at it. Each time I give him an inch he misses not a beat in taking the mile. He sees my weakness every time.
Last night, for example. After dinner I offered him a cookie (a mistake right off the bat-- all he'd eaten of his dinner had been his rice).
Two, he said, holding up two fingers.
No, I said. Just one.
Two with lemonade, he said, still holding up two fingers.
No, I said. Just cookies.
Okay, he said. He held up a third finger. Three.
He ended up with two, and I felt I was being strict. But he ended up with exactly twice as much as my original bottom line.
As I said, he sees my weakness. He counts on it. He's shrewd. And I'm doomed!
Sometimes it is truly wonderful to be doomed.
Partly because I've been doing a lot of meditating, and partly because the weather has had us marooned on the island with no route to the outer world, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the freedom that can be found in staying in the same place- in being stuck.
Sometimes it's just in the moment of utter frustration, when my son's pent up energy is spiraling out of control like a crazed moth exhausting itself near a light and my nerves are wracked and I'm wishing with a desperate gasp that we could just run outside for a minute and climb a friggin' tree (um, excuse me, but what's stopping us?), it is just in the quick of that moment that kiddo wows me with an act of comedy, a sudden hilarious reflection on our lives that has me keeling over with laughter, realizing how rich and perfect our lives truly are, right now, even in this stuckness, just as it is.
Example: I have been licking my wound and feeling a bit self-pitying since getting a biopsy of my calf from the dermatologist over the weekend. I was lifting my pant leg again to look at the angry spot sewn with wiry stitches, touching it to check for tenderness.
It truly hurts, doesn't it? he says. It sounds so strangely adult coming from a preschooler. It's the first time I've heard him use the word "truly."
A moment later he's barking into his toy fireman's megaphone "There's a lady here with a hurt leg! The Kratz Brothers will be right there!"
Now I'm in stitches with laughter. Wonderfully laughing at myself. Realizing how small this temporary wound is in the big picture of things. The big picture of our love. Our family. Our life. Right here. Right now.