Wednesday, January 29, 2014
My Reading Chair
It's cold in Alabama right now. We're not prepared for multiple days in the single digits. We don't have the clothes or outerwear required and most of our houses are heated with heat pumps that struggle against the cold. Right now it's all I can do to keep myself from burrowing in my nice comfy chair with warm sweats, cozy socks, piles of blankets and stack upon stack of books. One day I tell myself that will be my schedule for an entire day. One cold day I will do nothing but read book after book until I can't read anymore. But I stop myself before I allow myself to wish for that day to come.
You see, if I wish for that day to come I will be wishing for a time when my house is quieter than the chaos it's usually in right now. I will be wishing for the time when someone needs me to drive them somewhere, play with them, ask for my opinion, complain about work or school or any of the countless things that cause interruption into my reading time, to be over. It already feels like time is rushing by so fast I can barely focus as it is. Eleanor is already gone. Home to her is becoming increasingly her dorm room on a campus 90 miles away. Her visits home are sporadic, maybe a weekend a month, major holidays, a month or so in summer. There are visits to friends who no longer live down the road but are in other cities. With Emma we are racing towards her senior year with increasing speed. Already the talk is of test scores and scholarships, pros and cons of colleges and early graduation. I feel like if I look away or get distracted when I look back she will be gone too. Her visits will be even more sporadic than Eleanor's because the schools she is looking at are far away, in other area codes, other states. Ringo is right on her heels as we talk about his classes next year and what will put him in the best position to start applying for schools in 18 months. As it is the time they are here is decreasing. Between school and work, extra curriculars, AP seminars and practice tests, and friends they are gone more often than they are here. Our goal is for 1 night a week where everyone eats dinner together and even that sometimes is a challenge. Within weeks Emma will be driving - she is past overdue for that as it is and our talks going place to place will drift away. After she goes Ringo will go. The Tornado will be here awhile longer. But even he, my baby, is no longer a baby. He is already all long skinny legs, knees and elbows. Already, we debate private Kindergarten versus public, which T-ball program and soccer programs to sign him up for, science camps versus sports camp. Soon it will be just him and then before I know it it will be his turn to talk about colleges.
I don't mean to sound sad. I'm not dreading the the time when it's just J and me. I have all kinds of plans, plans to travel, plans to learn new things, things to catch up, days spent in my reading chair. The older kids at least know what their rooms will be turned into once they are no longer their rooms. But for right now I remind myself to enjoy this time, to live in this time instead of wishing for other things. So I will spend my time coordinating and juggling and squeezing my reading time into the hours I stay up too late before I go to sleep or snatched moments here and there. And in a little while, when I have done all the coordinating, and juggling and planning, my reading chair will be sitting right there waiting for me.