Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers.
Yesterday someone referred to August as Summer’s Sunday. I’m not so good at Sundays. They are simultaneously the day I have finally relaxed into my weekend, and the day I remember all of the things I need to do for the week ahead. “There’s not enough time!” is my accidental mantra every August.
In the car, driving L to camp – over the mountain into the woods, she asked me if I had noticed the trees lining the road into the campus.
“They are such narrow trees, but such a thick forest.” She told me.
I hadn’t noticed. Yesterday picking her up from camp, I had noticed the tight one lane driveway, the way I had to pull over to let other cars through. I had noticed the forest, the way the light changed enough to make me take off my sunglasses. I hadn’t noticed the interesting way the small thin trees stood close and thick and created the dappled light.
I guess I couldn’t see the trees for the forest. This must mean something.
So this morning, I noticed the trees in the forest, and decided I was so glad it was Tuesday… a day to notice slices.
I took the boys school shopping while L was at camp. I want to package up these little kids — resistant school shoppers who ended up really getting into picking their own clothes. One day they’ll be borrowing my car, I guess… and running to the store to get their own stuff. I tear up just typing that. That is the day I want to pull out my package of slices. I want to laugh about H taking matters into his own hands to find a quarter for him and one for his brother, after I told them I didn’t think I had any. I want to remember their little selves, standing in fresh button down shirts off the clearance rack.
Slices were easy to see…
H standing in front of me, fresh from the fitting room where he wanted to go himself. He’s wearing one pair of jeans and holding another. “If you’re wondering why that took so long to try these on? I took the other ones off – they were too small. I noticed they were inside out from taking them off, so I took all that time to inside in them. Then I tried on the other pair, and they felt exactly like the too small pair. Then I realized I had just put the first pair on again! The ones I had just fixed! So I had to take that pair off, and start again! Phew. These feel so much better.”
E searching searching searching for an orange shirt in his size, small. He couldn’t quite figure out how to tell which size something was. He kept bringing me shirts, and then realizing they were the wrong size. “Ugh. Mommy. I thought it was my lucky day for a minute! But this is an xs not an s!” Why did he want a bright orange shirt? To match the bright orange shorts he had picked out, of course. “I just really like vibrant colors, mommy.”
Even easier slices this evening at a local dam. I live in the same town I used to live in as a child. We moved away after fourth grade. Perhaps because I didn’t live here for a decade or so, I often feel like I’m time traveling when I watch my kids in the same places I went to when I was their age.
A slice: The drive up and down the mountain roads to the dam…turning off into a thickly wooded gravel road. The bumping of the car and the beauty of the woods just out of reach because your head starts to hurt from the sunlight popping in and out of the trees — just enough to make your eyes squint.
A slice: The view. I stood in the dam, tried to quiet my anxieties about water and kids, wished I had my camera, and just focused on the view. Dark rippled water, the swimming section roped off, with more water beyond. Trees everywhere, and a blue sky meeting a mountain on the horizon. I wanted to take a picture, but forced myself to stay in the water just being there instead of walking to my car to grab my phone. Instead I begged L to take a mental picture so she can paint me this scene one day soon.
A slice: L with her friend, chatting in the water, building a sand castle, running into the water, splashing. H searching for fish underwater. E floating along with his floaties saying “I’m glad you brought us here today, Mama. It’s so fun. I like lake swimming better than pool swimming I think.”
It’s too much, these slices of time travel. I know I’ve gone too far into nostalgia when I start to wonder if the sand I’m standing on is the same exact sand I stood on 30 years ago.
“This is the same place I went to when I was a kid!” I tell Lilian – excited to see nostalgic things come full circle.
“Great.” She says, eyebrows raised in only the way a 13 year old can do it.
Apparently she isn’t pre-nostalgic for her own childhood quite yet.
Thank goodness. I think that means that we are still in the forest of her childhood.