Thursday, June 12, 2014
There is a sense of hastening in the air. All day, a muggy breeze rustled through the overturned leaves. The sky darkened and lightened repetitively. It never did rain. An extra-low tide afforded a feast for the seabirds. I stepped over a multitude of shells on the beach as I walked Nelly, my thoughts interrupted by the intermittent sound of cockles, crabs, mussels hurled onto rocks: the clatter of death.
We kill time in the car with audiobooks. For the past few months, we’ve been hooked on a spy series about a 14-year-old boy working for MI6. In this morning’s installment, my spine tingled as the hero was presented with a bullet-proof snowsuit for a mission he was about to embark upon. Twice last week I had the hysterical notion that, if only I could send my kids to school in bulletproof clothing, all would be well. Last Thursday on our way home from school we stopped for dozens of police cars, fire trucks, undercover police with sirens slapped on top, later learning the cause: a gunman at a nearby university. The next day, I got a text from Abbott’s school alerting me that a man brandishing a gun was nearby, and the school was on lockdown. There are many facets to the problem, but to pretend that gun regulation isn't at the core is just ignoring the facts.
This week at an end-of-the-year event at Abbott’s school, we were divided into groups, and each of us was given a card with a global issue on it from among those the sixth graders have been studying, such as hunger, poverty, global warming, health care, biodiversity, sustainability. We sat in a circle with a skein of yarn, taking turns making a connection between the issue we were randomly assigned – say, hunger – and that of another in the circle – maybe sustainability – who tossed the skein to us. We held on to a stretch of the yarn before sending it on. It formed a web between us all, and we experimented with how far the effect could be felt when one of us tugged on it.
Today was the last day of school. This summer, just like the last one and the one before that, the house will be full of boys rotating in and out. I love that our house is That House, but making it happen doesn’t come easily for me. I follow them around putting pillows back on the couch, forgotten cups in the dishwasher, shoes and socks out of Nelly’s reach, books on the stairs to go up or down, depending. It may be post-traumatic stress from when they were babies and toddlers and I was trying to cope with chemotherapy and worrying about genetic issues and surgeries, and it was all just too much. I wish I’d had the prescience to know it would all be OK. We would be OK. Mothering them has gotten much easier since those days, but I still feel a bit of panic when I think about the noise and mess and chaos ahead of us. Somehow we always figure it out, together, and I hate when summer ends.