I'm helping Asher because he's eating a snack right before dinner and it's messy and it's everywhere. I take a towel and wipe his face and the towel gets all gooey so I throw it down the stairs. I'll wash it later with the rest.
I pick him up and think about how heavy he's getting and we wash silky smooth hands at the kitchen sink. He starts to say fish, fish, fish, over and over while he watches the fish in the window above the sink. I need to feed the fish, I think.
He's begging and so I say no gum you just had some, as I pinch fish food. He cries with that deep crinkling line between his brows and my heart hurts but he still just had gum.
There's a mess on the floor from the late snack so I sweep it. I hurry because I hear loud sounds from the movie in the living room and I wonder if it's too scary and I should go check.
It's not actually night at all, but I've started Movie Night early, making it Movie Afternoon because I'm tired. The loud growling sounds are from Beauty and the Beast and I should sit with Miles so he's not scared of The Beast or Gaston. We'll talk about it later because Asher is standing there with a smashed beach ball, acting out how to blow it up, his body bouncing with excitement because of the asking, so I reach for it.
Just then Ryan comes up the stairs and he says I'm home, traffic was terrible. I roll my eyes because his office is in the basement and he's silly. I say look, there's Daddy while I put the deflated ball on the counter, distracted and relieved. Asher walks slowly to the living room, wishing his ball was blown up. Ryan asks how goes it and I say Movie Night is Movie Afternoon, so he rubs my shoulders and he goes to the living room to see his boys.
I start to think about dinner. We have steaks. Ryan should start the grill and we'll have steaks... but with what?
The movie ends and I kiss Miles five times on the cheek and he asks why I kissed him so many times and I say it's because I love him so many times. Then Asher shouts with laughter and says toot, and I wonder why boys have to be so obsessed with bodily functions.
The sun blasts through the front window and I'm glad it's finally out. I wonder if the grass is dry enough for mowing. Our lawn could use some mowing. I hear a bang just then and so my heart jumps and I wait to see if there will be crying. There's none because it was just Ryan dropping an overloaded laundry basket to the floor. THUD! He's making room to play.
squealing and shouting and wrestling and giggling...
Go out and start the grill, please, I say to Ryan, and Miles responds with his silly voice put on and a, You're a pig, Mom! So I stop and say I know you're trying to be funny but name-calling isn't very nice. He asks why and I try to explain. He asks more and more whys so I say that's just how it is.
They all go out in the backyard for the grilling of the steaks but Ryan forgets something so he comes to the front door from the garage while he's looking. It's locked so I stop the making of the sides and open it while I hear Miles say something about a dead chipmunk. I fling it open fast and I run to the back door to stop him from touching dead things.
There's no dead chipmunk but he thinks so and he's standing too close to the grill and I tell him Move back, sweetie and he says why. I explain for a long time about burning because he's so intrigued and asks so many questions.
I go back in and I try to sit down and write even though it makes no sense to write at this very moment. Then Ryan comes in and says the grill is ready for the steaks and I say Huh? He says he already asked for them once but I guess I didn't hear him.
My fingers pound the keyboard a minute or two, but then I figure I should get up and boil some starchy goodness of sweet corn because the steaks have finally gone outside to turn from red to brown.
And then I stop and listen, the voices carrying through the breeze and the back door.
I step outside with the sun and the smell of grilling. To not only hear, but see, the very best things that have ever happened to me and to sit in the sun and listen out there instead of from inside by myself doing things.
We stop and we eat and we say take a few more bites, and then there are piles of sticky and gooey plates and small silverware and cups strewn about. I start to move them and then stop half-way done because it's late. Time for the bath to wash the dirt and sand off that soft and smooth skin. Ryan says keep the water in the tub over and over and then they have to get out for the not listening and they cry.
We fumble with jammies and night lights and we read and wrangle. We fill cups and say prayers and give kisses and tell jokes and say get back to bed, little man.
Then the lights are out and the quiet comes in just a little while, settling over all the things that didn't get done.
I sit with a sigh while tired covers me like a blanket and I think how very strangely beautiful it is to miss them while they sleep.