There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way.-Christopher Morley
Swirling, Spinning, Twisting
Posted February 8, 2010
It's five o'clock on a Monday afternoon, and I'm gathering steam for the next phase of the day. I give some brief thought to the past couple of hours since I left my office to pick up my kids at their school. Driving through the West Valley, I raced several phone-holding-and-talking mothers in their SUVs, a few gardeners whose equipment perilously hung from the back of their pickups, and the occasional motley crew of high-schoolers zigzagging across the road at speeds far too excessive to be intended to bring them home to do homework or study for tests.
I arrived at my children's school to pull up in the line of cars parked around the yard waiting to load their respective dependents and whisk them away to all kinds of extra-curricular pursuits. To my left there is a basketball game in progress between the Heschel Day School and my children's school. A handful of parents cheers their teams. The other team scores, and our Head of School looks grim.
Within a few minutes, the children pour out into the yard and begin to board their overpriced chariots. My children are called, and I throw their backpacks into the back of my own overpriced SUV, and urge them to be seated and buckle up for safety. The line is quickly moving. We need to get going and make room for the next car.
As we arrive at home, the phone rings. Beautiful Eema is on her way home from work, and wants to ensure that the children are suited up for their Karate class, by the time she will arrive at home.
Ten minutes to go.
Life in Perpetual Motion
I head upstairs and rummage through the children's closets to locate their Karate shirts. Found. Good. We're on schedule for the perfectly synchronized handoff. I rush downstairs and tear off pieces of soft challah, and pack them in two small bags, as a snack for each child to be consumed en route to Karate class.
Finally, the Good Boy, the Sweet Sweetheart, and Beautiful Eema are in the family SUV and it's backing up and out. The garage door rolls shut, and quiet descends on the house. I stand there catching my bones as if a hurricane just blew through the house, spinning, twisting, throwing the whole place into chaos, then unceremoniously gone in seconds flat, leaving the people behind to wonder what just happened.
I click open a can of Cherry Coke Zero, and flip open the lid of my laptop. It's a good one, and I'm instantly connected to the Internet. My RSS feeds instantly update and my email flows in. I discover that upwards of twenty-five messages have arrived since I left my office, but luckily, most of them do not require a response from me, which is my favorite type of email. Yes, in theory I work less than full-time. In reality, it ain't necessarily so.
Before I know it, the clock on the microwave blinks to 5:07. The garage door begins to grind as it opens. I can hear it from the kitchen. In a minute, the children will burst through the door that connects the laundry room to the garage, then they'll fly through the doorway and into the kitchen.
They're back. They're exhausted. They're drained. They're in the mood to argue and taunt each other. I'm not.
Beautiful Eema enters the house and reaches for the portable vacuum cleaner to do a once-over where the children ate their on-the-road snack, as she wants it clean for her day to volunteer to drive one of our children's classes to a field trip. We don't like it when other parents pack our children into dirty cars, and we make sure that ours is clean for those occasions.
Me? I calculate what needs to happen before I get to relax again despite the return of the swirling kidricane.
Thankfully, tonight Beautiful Eema is making dinner instead of me. I'm off the hook and left to sit in the family room long enough to contemplate the sheer quantity of activity that fills my life these days. I know it's the same for so many families, and I often wonder how do they all manage to do it. The only answer I can think of is the tremendous love we as parents have for our children. That's the only force in the universe strong enough to motivate us to live in a restless state of perpetual motion. And the only force powerful enough to cause us to overlook what madness it is. And I do mean that in the nicest sense of the word.
About Double Triangle
Double Triangle is my personal blog and is mostly about family life in the Los Angeles area. It also serves to record some of my thoughts in a format that can be easily accessed by my family and friends, as well as by anyone else who cares to read it.
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