August! Boom, just like that. We've had camps, we had free weeks. Days away and days at home. Museums, pools, parks, the theater, and afternoons of quiet time spent in the cool air conditioning. This past week both of the girls were in camp Monday through Thursday from 9:30 until 1 p.m. The sudden time to myself caught me by surprise. Not just the minutes and seconds and the ability to get things done without interruption. But to suddenly have access to one's own headspace, the ability to not have to listen to another voice but one's own. Is it possible to forget the way silence feels in the daytime? Apparently so.
Yesterday I spent some free time at the art museum. Alone. Picasso, Matisse cut-outs, Pollack: Why is it they all seem to remind a mother of their toddlers' art? No, I'm not questioning art's value or an artist's skill. It just that when you're so used to small voices from small people filling your head, dictating your days, when you finally find yourself staring up at the soaring ceilings of I.M. Pei's East Wing at the National Gallery and you see Alexander Calder's outsized hanging mobile, why is it that the first thing that comes to mind is a baby mobile? Goodness, phantom limbs.
This summer has been good to us. Of course there are moments, even whole days, when the girls are really tough. And it always seems it's on those days a stranger will single me out and tell me how fast it goes, yadda ya. And I'm seeing truth in those statements. What is it: long days, short years? Anyway, generally speaking Cecile and Genevieve are in this awesome place right now. While not exactly "easy" to travel with, they are manageable. Cecile, dare I say, can even be helpful, when she wants to be. And so our yearly summer trips to Kiawah and Lake Placid were, I might venture, fun! (Note that last year, following those very same trips, I declared we would never set foot in Kiawah, nor Lake Placid, ever, ever again.) I couldn't yet categorize our travel as relaxing, but enjoyable! Yes!
I want to hit pause, savor this, hold them, smell the sweaty sunscreen in their curly hair. Cuddly moments are becoming fewer and fleeting. But there is such also pleasure in witnessing how brave and active and part of this big, big world they they are becoming. A tender process.