Mom putters about the house, finding projects. Out on the deck, the charcoal needs putting away before the big snow. From the upstairs window I see her searching around, wondering, what will keep it dry? A plastic bag? A slab of wood? Aha…the shed, a few steps beyond the deck, already overflowing.
The trash is taken out and the sink emptied when I come downstairs. Now she can sit, steaming mug of tea in hand, ankles crossed, shoring up her strength for her next task. It is the lists that occupy her subsequent hours: the lists of food we will need to have on hand – she’ll have
enough delivered to our door for the next week (because you never know how long the snow could last). She writes deliberately, with brow furrowed and back hunched, stopping here and there to ask, “Corn chex? Can Spencer eat corn chex? What about mac and cheese?” This task, no less important – no, perhaps more in her eyes – to our well-being. Like any mother, she will have us fed. That is her job, even if she doesn’t have a house in which to cook for us. I tire of these delusions, but I am grateful she feels that she is helping. And in some ways, she is, just by being here.
In the kitchen, I flit from task to task: from dishwasher to Quinn’s coloring to prepping dinner. Would that I could pay more attention to her questions, her theories, as she sits and drinks, sits and writes. I have time – if I could just stop – to sit and talk and snuggle into her plump side. For today, I do not take it. Next time, I hope I will.