The snow falls lightly all around me, and the tree above drops melting ice onto the roof of my car, loud against the metal. Our city feels like winter again. I sit writing in my car while Miss E and her friends bend and stretch and stretch and bend, practicing yoga and patience and calm, feeling their breath in and out, channeling their giggles into movement. Mostly. Strangely, I am not too cold here.
I give myself this hour weekly, for my blog. Usually by now, I have an opening line, or a theme, some beginning. I don’t often sit in my car free writing. I find it hard to move forward without purpose.
But this week, I have too many choices, too many topics clamoring for my attention, jamming my brain, wanting to wring free my tears or my rage, my passion or momentum, too many topics that could drive me under the covers of our unmade bed if I go too deep. I skim the top. I consider choosing carefully, slowly, one at a time. Where is the toddler-mom I need for my toddler-brain, the one who invites me warmly to choose this or that, only this or that, nothing more? The one who breaks it down for me and loves me still?
Snow. Slush. Ice. Driving. Walking. Slipping.
My daughter’s school project. Frustration. Bursts of insight. Intention. Scissors and glue. A splash of color. Done.
The chocolate cake we eat to celebrate.
That one conversation. The one that came before the snow, when we used simple words to uncover a mess that now must be cleared. The one sitting on the table now, waiting for us. That one.
Rays of sun.
Snow mountains along the edges of the blacktop where our children play. A leaping off point, the beginning of games, glee, ideas. Wet knees.
Never all one thing or another, this precipice.
Two friends are pregnant. No words will convey how wholeheartedly their lives are about to change. The journey that is the joy. The mystery. I wish both families their bubbles of bliss, and a steady hand in those moments when the terrain breaks up and becomes rugged.
I find myself endlessly translating needs and desire into language you or you or you can understand when I would rather make shapes from clay some days and yet what I have is a blog. Words are too angular.
The snow has stopped. I hear only the whoosh of cars behind me on the street, and I am free writing.
As a child on my way home, I used to walk by lit kitchens, lit living rooms, deeply dark houses with one light gleaming in an upstairs window, and sometimes the smells of dinner wafted into the street with the laughter of children and adults. I used to wonder how each family lived. What happened inside each home? How I longed to perch invisibly on their windowsills and watch awhile. My friends thought I was nuts when I asked if they weren’t curious, too.
Now I am the one who turns on the lights, opens the shades, and smooths the blanket on each bed, and I wonder if there is a child walking by wondering, too.
Inside our house, we play music. We read books. I want ours to be the bright house on my walk all those years ago. I want us to be that family, where the aroma of dinner and laughter waft into the street. I send a prayer out into the night.
Today, I am the parent steaming up the windows of a car with just my breath, writing of wintry branches dripping snow, and the taste of home.
Across the street, there is a soft bell. I do not hear it from where I sit, but I know it is time.
I have a purpose now. I open the car door and step outside.