Sun 22 Jun 2008
my boy fell asleep tonight like a small, curly-headed rock.
he and his father spent what must have been half of this true first weekend of summer running in the yard. it’s the first time it’s been genuinely warm here…i know the rest of you have been melting, in more southerly climes, but i seriously only packed away the sweaters last week. summer comes every year to the east coast of Canada like a shock…we draw out dampness and chill well into June, begin to lament and moan that decent weather will never come, and then…snap! suddenly it’s beautiful out and acres of terrifyingly pasty Scottish and Irish-descended flesh is bared, en masse, to the public eye in a dazzling display of blue-veined wonder. sunglasses are recommended if one wishes to brave the glare at the beach. so is a thermal wetsuit, for that matter…but the freezing temperature of our waters is not my problem this year. this year, my yard is my oyster, enclosed and enforced, and only those who venture into my lair must endure the shiny pallor of my tender, unexercised thighs. bless their hearts.
Oscar is too young yet to notice that the yard is, perhaps, not entirely a complete and magic kingdom unto itself. or perhaps it is, and it is only this year that i will be pinned, by circumstance and lack of alternatives, into taking notice. certainly for Dave and O it seems to suffice. they played kickball…Oscar learned to kick just this weekend and all attempts warrant a very intense goose-step, making him resemble a tiny mid-century soldier with eleven-inch legs, commandeering his yellow beachball about the property. they somersaulted on the lawn. they played up-down…wherein Oscar beetles up and down the two-degree-grade hill between our yard and the one next door, shouting “up!”, “down!” as he goes, pell-mell. the subtleties of the game escape me, but watching a man in his thirties, perhaps a few years and as many pounds from the heighth of his athletic glories but as focused and intense about anything he does as the most disciplined, competitive pentathlete, sprint up and down a hill barely visible to the naked eye some hundred-ought times to the tune of a toddler was…charming. and rather entertaining.
they climbed into the hammock Dave had suspended from a tree. they repeatedly visited the marvel of the hose on the side of the house. and they played airplane, my son hurtling through the air, laughter echoing in the blue blue sky.
i watched, sidelined. i felt guilty, not being able to play, not being able to take my share in the parenting, in the fun, in the strange mix of it all that is both joy and responsibility at once. but then i remembered…i don’t particularly like running. or ball-chasing. or most of the other physical delights a backyard offers…hence the reason i’ve never really enjoyed mine much before. which is not to say i wouldn’t enjoy these things with Oscar…i think i might. maybe. i hope i get to, next year, and the year after, with two little laughing creatures zinging madly across the grass. and sure, i realized, it would be nice to be able to do more, nice to not be sitting here with my leg muscles turning to jelly. but it is still nice, this absently planting petunias into a pot on the back deck while half-reclined, watching my son and his father exhaust each other. i am home, with the people i love. the baby is still safely inside. and all i have to do is sit, and watch. the livin’ is easy.
even if i could do a hundred things with a Sunday, i wouldn’t have changed today. when i am old, if i get to be old, i hope my memory retains the sight of that little boy and that grown one, giggling and panting their way around the young trees in this small backyard, with the June sky open behind them.