The measure of a day

We’re back to walking the dogs three times a day, which gives us the opportunity to soak up the new-morning sun, to bid the neighborhood goodnight, and to wander these cul-de-sacs all afternoon long. Yesterday we were out for an hour, never further than a couple of blocks away from home. We investigated squirrel nests, corralled our hounds when other dogs walked by, tested a dozen different ways to hula-hoop. Anna built a fairy village of sticks and leaves and grasses, with acorns for fairies and seed pods for boats and little beds made out of moss. She narrated an elaborate tale of a fairy mommy and her fairy babies, of unseen monsters chased away with magic and storms roaring outside the fairies’ cozy hole. She leapt and twirled and recited, as the dogs curled in the neighbor’s grass and snoozed.

It was, by any measure, a lovely afternoon. And we get to do this every day.

So I wish I knew why, then, I couldn’t sleep last night for fretting over all I hadn’t done. The neglected second job, the thank-you cards still piled on the counter. None of this should matter.

Hemmed in by chores, finances and the uncertainty of our future, we have every right to essentialize, to tuck in and make the most of that rare commodity we actually have at the moment: time. Time to play. Time to dance. Time to sing and to talk and to make it up as we go. Time to enjoy.

And yet I fretted because I wasn’t cooking from scratch. I thought about the unfolded laundry. I wondered if she’d remember this afternoon, long into her life, when she could have been … learning Spanish, I suppose, or soccer or t-ball or swimming.

I nearly ruined it, this happy memory, and that’s such a shame. How many of us do that? Every day? I do. I do. I do.

It’s so difficult for me to evaluate a day by what went right, and so natural to look for what went wrong. It’s just the two of us and the dogs.

Our shepherd, Tuco, assumes the role of deputy pack leader, patrolling, guarding, keeping us safe. He takes this so seriously that it’s almost comical, but I can’t laugh at him; he’s working so hard. (Of course, should I ever cry or get upset at anything in the house, he slinks into the shower. This does challenge his tough-dog image.) Rosa, the female dog, never quite lets me parent alone; she’s always on hand to help manage the puppy.

Who is managing quite well, thank you very much. When Allan is away, she sleeps in my bed and brushes her teeth in my sink and bathes in my tub. Much of this is sheer practicality; it takes half the time to supervise her if she’s right with me. But I like it, too, if I’m truthful, having her cozy-close, sharing a bath, singing while we dress.

We have as much of that as we want, these few days. What a treasure it is, this thing we have, so precious and so fleeting. I know this, really I do, and I won’t forget.

Published in: on January 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM  Leave a Comment  
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