Masterclass tonight

Julia and I hung out on the porch yesterday afternoon while Oliver recharged with a twenty-minute power nap (gawd, I wish that’s all it took for me to recharge…). While we were out there I drank my coffee and took in what was around me – the sun, the breeze, the earthy summer smells, the bubbly sound of children’s laughter drifting from nearby backyards, Julia pretending to water our flower graveyard garden – and I thought about all of the people in the world who will never get to sit on their porch and enjoy little things like these. I suddenly felt incredibly fortunate.

After dinner, before the kids and I left to meet Dave at work and trade cars so I could go on and get a massage, I wrote a little ditty about it: We were restless, but Oliver’s nap had us tied to the house. We decided on the porch, me with a coffee in one hand and the baby monitor in the other, Julia carefully carrying a bowl of Cheerios and apple slices. I settled in one of the elderly wicker chairs left by the previous owners and curled my hands around the warm mug while Julia darted up and down the porch, pointing out birds and flowers and such.

I watched the spider webs that drape our shrubs ripple in the breeze and listened to the wind slide through the tree branches, rustling the leaves. I watched my daughter scooping up handfuls of dirt, clumps falling between her fingers and bouncing off her dress to the pavement, the few remaining Geraniums poking their bright red heads above the tangled mess of weeds that has become my front garden. I stared at my chipped hot pink toenail polish and heard Oliver, over the monitor, sigh in his sleep. I looked at our front lawn, more hay now than grass, and our van parked in the driveway. I played Eye Spy with Julia, sipped my coffee and tucked my hair behind my ear. And thought about how lucky I am. When I got home I asked Dave to read it.

I liked what I’d written but I wondered if it was cheesy and wanted his opinion. He read it, but we got distracted by a tense backgammon match and Rock Star: Supernova. I realized a few hours later he hadn’t told me what he thought of it. “Did you read that?” I asked. “Oh, yeah, I did,” he said, muting the television. “What don’t you like about it?” “It’s not that I don’t like it…I just thought it was maybe a bit gay.” “No, I wouldn’t say that, but it needs something more. It needs a zinger, you know? Some zing.” “Zing? What do you mean?”

He thought for a minute. “I don’t know…maybe you could elaborate more. Is that all you guys did out there?” “Well, yeah, I mean, we were only outside for like, twenty minutes…then Oliver woke up and took this monster shit and that’s when I noticed his insane diaper rash and I had to shave my legs and my pits and make dinner and get us ready to come and meet you,” I said. “That’s what it needs,” he said, pointing at me emphatically. “That’s your zing.” “You think monster shits and pit shaving is zing?”