October 12, 2010
A Day in the Simple Life
Today has been a day like any other, different in details, but not in feel. The kids wake up shortly after sunrise, having returned to our Autumn bedtime of 7:30pm, and Jeff ushers them out to the living room to light the fire that was prepped in the stove the night before.
I lay in the dark bedroom drifting in and out of sleep as I listen to them begin their day. I hear the scrape of the spoon on the bottom of the pan as Jeff stirs the buttery, syrupy, nutty smelling oats... Simone chatters in her sweet-cheeky baby way, and Quinn and Nichola begin a game of fantasy involving nights, fairy princesses, moles (?!) and treasure. All is well and I am so toasty under the lofty down comforter.
The next time I wake up to the sound of the enameled tin plates, loaded with steaming oats and eggs, hitting the kitchen table. I open my eyes and look out the door to see everyone sitting down at the table; warm in the sheet of sun that streams through the picture window floating over it.
All is still well, but I wrest myself from the cozy bed to the chill morning air as I always do right at this time. I'm met with smiles made through full mouths as Jeff walks to the kitchen to fill my mug with coffee, and Simone squeals with the most fulfilling delight a mother could hear, crawling all the while in an exaggerated way as she hurries to my feet to be picked up.
Jeff and I trade, coffee for baby, and I head for the velvet chair next to the fire that I know to be the warmest spot in the house... here I will sip my coffee and consider catching up with breakfast.
Steam swirls off the farm-style sink filled will bubbles and the mornings dishes and I slip in to wash them; another chance to slow the progress of the day and let my mind wander as I stare out the window at the frost burning off mountains landscape.
Outside the sun is blazing now in it's New Mexico way, and feels wonderful with the cool air. The kids are running through the tall grass, up and down from the river, playing their games again... "Pretend that I have a horse and you have a dragon"... Jeff is re-potting the neglected kitchen garden in the shade of the porch, and Simone and I are sitting in the dry grass washing heavily painted pieces of the kids' easel. We've been felling trees and splitting wood, and the richly sweet smell of fir, pine and spruce is on the breeze. It's another beautiful day, but I can taste the rain that I know to be hidden behind the southern crest... the sharper chill will push us in soon, so Jeff and I switch to hefting the last of the things to and from the garage.
Today we're putting together our office. Because we all share one room for sleeping, we have an extra room. One desk in each of three corners; one to write and work, one to sew and one for the children. The yoga mats lie unrolled in the middle of the floor, bucking any excuses, and we bring in the only two boxes that we have to store; one is books and the other is clothes that Simone hasn't yet grown into.
The dryer hums and rumbles, the bathroom sink steams with Neeka's boiled white leotards, and the thyme-y smell of the leftover potato soup is making my tummy rumble like the dryer. The rain has begun and is shining as it mysteriously manages to pour down through the sun. Jeff writes code and researches while I fold the laundry. Simone is sleeping off breakfast and I can faintly hear the kids voices echoing off the walls and tiled floor in the office where Quinn is sewing fairy dolls for Neeka's Christmas present, and Neeka is talking to Nala (short for Manala), her invisible to us friend.
The scent of baking bread is overpowering the house. Why does bread smell so strongly, I wonder as I stir the tiny pot of chili I have made from leftovers. We're having baked potatoes with chili, cheese, butter and the miniscule portion of yogurt left in the nearly empty fridge. The many thousands of dollars in deposits we have had to pay to be back in the house has stripped what little cash we had after our summer of financial bleed, but we get by and we make the most of what we can get. I've shopped for the week by scanning the price-tags rather than the food items. It makes an interesting menu and I am warmly reminded of my ability to turn scraps into something lovely; a trick handed down to me by my gourmet artist of a father.
The incredible (and unmutable) scream of the dryer buzzer causes us all to jump, breaking my concentration so that I am now free to butter the aforementioned molasses bread and hand it to the towel-wrapped children along with their chilly glasses of raw, organic milk (a nutritional splurge we bank on for the kids' health) and shoo them to the table with warnings of impending bedtime.
Returning to the keyboard I hurry through the rest of my thoughts as the of my brain prepares for storytime, pajamas and the inevitable post-lights chatter and giggles. Tonight after the kids are soundly asleep I will sneak a tiny square of the darkest chocolate (a treat that Jeff squirreled away for me some time ago) and ease into the sofa next to him so that we can reconnect before retreating to our own evening works in progress. We'll meet again in this place with steamy cups of honey sweetened tea before slipping quietly into the bedroom where we will briefly listen to the children breathe before falling deeply to sleep to the sound of quiet.
Another day gone... slipped away with the promise of another day as sweet, simple and malleable as this one.