Monday, January 29, 2007
Happy birthday, Maggie
You have made three fantastic boys. They learn little details so quickly that it’s a challenge for me to keep up with them. They have all come to learn that I’m not perfect or even as smart as they are; like you did, they have intolerance for people who aren’t as smart as they are.
Well, with me, they are learning patience. That’s something you had trouble with. They are also learning about achievement and disappointment, about this wonderful and terrible world, and (with me as a caregiver), they are learning about how authority isn’t always perfect, but it’s in charge.
With Bigglest Boy’s 9th birthday last week, he is in his last year of single digits. Next year, he’ll be a tween. I may cry when that happens. He got an Erector Set for his birthday, but not the motorized one that he wanted. He has already figured out how to modify an old electric toothbrush to use as a motor, and has attached it to gears to slow it down so it won’t completely shred whatever it is he’s inventing.
Littlest Boy also had a birthday – his 3rd – and he, I am both sad and pleased to say, thinks he is no longer a baby. Except he still needs to be held and rocked to sleep. I guess I do, too, sometimes.
Middlest Boy is the little man. He sometimes gets me to tie a bandanna around his head, so he can wear one like his daddy does, when he has to do dirty work like mop the floor or paint. It’s funny to see them out by the creek, hacking brush, both with bandannas on. He looks so much like his daddy now, except when he is angry or frustrated, and then his eyes flash and his teeth grind and, well, he looks like you, I’m afraid. Terrible and beautiful.
I don’t know what to do with all these notes and sheet music that you wrote, but I promise I won’t throw them out. Girlfriend, did you ever hear of “filing”? There are three big file boxes of this stuff, and as I go through them, finding songs you arranged, notes and outlines that you wrote, and crazy hilarious little snippets of t-shirt ideas or bumper stickers, or bad parodies of Dostoevsky or Robert Louis Stevenson novels, I wonder if you ever slept. There’s enough stuff in these boxes to make twenty movies. And that doesn’t begin to go into the music that you recorded.
I have often thought that you knew what was going to happen and you knew that you only had so much time and so many things to do that you just would go and go and not ever stop until you’d pass out. You have written long manuscripts on the history of the way people think. There are what look like chemical formulas. There are scraps, little bits of this and that. I remember watching TV with you, a Will & Grace rerun, while we giggled and snarked. The whole time you were arranging some piece of music, writing notes and scratching them out, and also you were throwing a piece of wadded up paper for the cat to play with. Oh, and you kept an eye on tomorrow’s dinner in the oven. I have a hard enough time just clearing my head enough so that I can watch TV, but you were doing four – or five – things at once and that was when you were relaxing.