Well, think I understand why I was so to-the-bones exhausted the other night. Woke up with a cold the next day. Aches all over, a sore throat and a voice like a 3 pack-a-day smoker. Last night was a long, sleepless one. (Ironically it happened the day after I’d commented to a co-worker that I rarely got sick. !) But today in spite of feeling lousy I didn’t slow; too much to do. Vacuumed the house, gave the stove a good going-over, did the requisite making and cleaning up of three home-cooked meals, baked some bread, did a load or two of laundry and spent some time at the piano. (Not too thrilled about the ceaseless list of material I must learn – it requires an investment of time I hardly have to give and don’t get reimbursed for either, but I give it nonetheless as the music must be learned regardless.) After a good day’s labor I decided that Elihu and I would commence to pass a couple of hours as all self-respecting Americans are wont to do – in front of the tv. Our very new, long-awaited ‘real’ tv, that is (not the tiny counter top tube type, the likes of which we do already have in the kitchen. Mr. Colbert is my one true love, may all know it, and he keeps me company when I do the dishes). Our new tv is every bit as up-to-date as the Jones’, thank you very much. All 39 diagonal inches of it. !! This was a purchase I’d researched up and down, thought long and hard about after finally making a decision. Even to have decided that we should actually have such a creature in our house – that in itself was something of a big move for us. During the course of life as usual, we haven’t much extra time to watch the thing – but as this relentless winter drags on and on and on, we do find ourselves occasionally with an hour here or two that we might care to fill with something other than jam sessions or homework. I mean, how many polkas can one learn, right?

Our cellar (that’s what one calls the basement in these parts) is kinda chilly, so we now have a resident down comforter to drape over our laps as we hunker down in our new bean bag chairs a-la-Walmart and pull up real close to that giant tv. Elihu’s vision is such that we often say that ‘if he can’t touch it, he can’t see it’. While it’s kind of an exaggeration mostly designed to make a point, there is some truth to it. He, and all other Achromats must sit within a couple of feet of a tv screen to register the images. Plus, being extremely photosensitive, the image must be adjusted about as low as the brightness settings can go – while maintaining contrast, so the images are still distinct. I’m glad to have him mostly all to myself as a parent – because when it comes to his visual comfort, I know what he needs, and I make sure he has it. He has no ‘normal’ sighted folks other than me to share with here, so the screen is set for his maximum comfort. As a mom, that gives me peace. I get such joy looking over at him, his eyes wide (they’re seldom wide open) and a look of awe on his face as he watches his very favorite Ben 10 character kicking all manner of alien butt….

He may still get a thrill out of Ben 10, but he’s on that cusp of little boy/bigger boy now…. He’s taking his bath as I write, something I’ve almost always been present for, but tonite, he tells me he feels he’d like to be alone. It’s not the first time he’s told me something like that, but once again it highlights for the the new terrain coming up in the not-too-distant future. Yesterday he laughed as he pulled my hand across his legs, arms and then upper lip, all of which were becoming hairier than I’d remembered them being… He knew I’d be a bit taken aback. He got the reaction he’d wanted. (I fake cried for him to bring my baby boy back – or stop growing!) Elihu is excited about the changes coming up, and why shouldn’t he be? Why shouldn’t I be? The tender years are wrapping up, and how lucky are we to be entering into the years where we can play music together, do things, have even more adventures, be better matched as partners, and less like parent and child…

I admit it, I’m ambivalent about this growing older thing. I want my arms always to fit around my boy, I want him to always fit in my lap here in this cozy chair (it’s getting a tad tight these days). Hell, I want always to hold my seven month old babe in my arms, sit in my rocking chair and sing him to sleep…. A baby is an easy thing to miss, but it’s also easy to forget ever having had such a tiny thing in your arms  at all…. I can understand why people have more of em… so tender, so sweet… But SO much goddam, relentless work they are too! Yeeks. Ah, but then I can let all that weepy nostalgia go when I envision the future yet before us, and realize the downshifting of domestic duties that go along with the territory (if you know different, maybe don’t tell me, cuz I’m really building it up in my mind as the wide open future as soon as he can feed, dress and clean himself without any assistance or prompting.)

I have been feeling under the weather, but at least I know it’ll last only a day or so. Our sick hen, Sophia, however, finally had to give up today. In spite of a week’s tender treatment in the house; antibiotics, warm towels, fancy feed and the occasional serenade by a young bassist, and in spite of a good start to her re-entry into coop life, last night her breathing had become labored once again. I realized that I could either bring her back inside and committ myself fully to her recovery, stinky kitchen, random poops and all, or I could let nature run her course and decide for me. There was another option we considered; we could call neighbor Zac over for a quick “Axe-u-puncture” treatment. Unless I kept her inside for a good month and mad her my top project, I didn’t see ever restoring her to optimum hen health. And although I do have a lotta love inside my heart for creatures in need, I just couldn’t find the oomph this project would require. So when I saw a strange, black shape on the snow today, I knew what it was, and I realized that Nature had made the choice for me. Of course I was saddened to see she hadn’t made it, but beneath that ran a sweet feeling of relief, for her as much as for me.

I ran out to see, and learned that she’d separated herself from the flock, walked a strange, drunken curve into the snow, then simply fallen over. Elihu had seen her just an hour before, so I knew it to be recent. I picked her up and cradled her in my arms, leaned over and kissed her. Brought her to the house for Elihu to see, but his need for closure hardly existed, this was just more business as usual. I laid her out on the snowbank across the driveway as an offering for the meat-eating crows. I think tomorrow they’ll be quite pleased to find her. And it pleases both of us to know that Sophia is no longer suffering, and that now she brings a benefit to others in need. A bittersweet conclusion, but still, ultimately speaking, a happy ending.

My happy end will come when this kid finally gets out of the bath and I can myself head off to bed. Mama don’t go down til the house is settled and ready. And some nights it just seems to drraaagggg oooonnnn  aaannnddd oooonnnnn. Yes, I do realize that ‘These are the good old days” and one day I’ll miss em. But sometimes I’m just really ready for these good ol days to be long done n gone.

IMG_0668Sophia  listens patiently

IMG_0655And she stays close by while Elihu plays for her

IMG_0661Yeah, she just hasn’t looked too hot in a while now.

Dear Sophia is no longer in distress. You were a fine hen; thanks for coming to live with our family here at the Hillhouse for a bit, we were delighted to know you.

2 thoughts on “Gone

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