Tuesday, July 7, 2009

slow down

today should have been any easy day. or maybe fun, exciting, if not easy. today was nai and peanut's end of the year trip to the botanical gardens. ooooh, how i was looking forward to it. celebrating their first year at school...how they blossomed, how it just whizzed by.

there were so many days, so many events i had wished i were able to attend, but always a conflict in my schedule, and never a good idea to miss the hours of work and the much needed,
always needed, money those extra hours brought. but now that i am among the many (many) newly unemployed, i have the opportunity to drink up the crescendo of playdates, picnics, and school trips that are coming to a symbol's crash as people prepare to scatter to the four winds until september rolls around again.

but then, today.

i woke to a text message from a fellow mom desperate for an extra pair of rainboots in a size 9 or 10. it's pouring rain and we are going to the gardens today, and i am chaperoning. i don't have extra rainboots, but what i do have is 48 minutes less than i need to get us out the door, because for some reason, this is the day that my alarm clock doesn't go off. okay.

we get no further than 3 1/2 feet from the bed (the kids joined me, kicking out the tall person with the penis that we live with at some point in the night) and nai starts coughing, and gagging, and finally puking in our gigantic sick bowl. okay.

i won't bore you with the politics, negotiating, and mind-changing that went on for the next 25 minutes, but nai eats two bowls of cereal and seems to be just fine, and is most definitely very excited to go to the 'mechanical' gardens (amzi would like you to all know the proper pronunciation is 'motaniniaco' gardens, but, anyway).

so we slide into our rainboots, don our raincoats, in the car, drop the tall one at the subway, drive 3 1/2 blocks, and there's the gagging again and the two bowls of cereal are all over the raincoat and the carseat. okay

i think most of you are moms. i don't have to describe what vomit in a carseat means. faux velvet. seat belts. buckles. crevices. you get it.

so, back home, hose nai down, call the school (i can't chaperone, but will drop amzi at the gardens so please wait for us before going in, we will be there). we will be there.

back in the car and start driving, soon to find block after block cordoned off. police everywhere, directing me further and further away from the gardens. from my plan for today. it was supposed to be fun, and we were supposed to be at the garden, but now the car is covered in vomit, we are late, and i just don't get why things are not going my way.

then i see my neighbor greg and ask him what's happening. "cop's funeral", he says. "you mean
the funeral?". then he pauses and says,"yeah".

you see, last week a plain-clothed n.y.p.d. officer was shot by 'friendly' fire. he was a young black man, the father of 18 month old and 7 month old sons.

there is so much i'd like to say, but no (comfortable) words with which to say it. i'm so tired of these stories. so tired of my neighbors being shot in the streets. so tired of the explanations, the excuses afterword. so tired of it not being entirely okay to speak plainly of what these events mean. in my community. where i am raising my kids.

we finally left amzi (happy as a clam) with her classmates, nai resigned to his quarantine(maybe even a little happy to spend the day with mom). although i was sorry to have plans changed on me, i thought it a good opportunity to get a few extra hours of work in. when we returned home, i sat behind the sewing machine for today's project.

you see, it's been a wet spring, so naturally there have been snails in the backyard. lots and lots of snails. one morning last week i took a bunch of pictures, and thought it would be a funny post... you know, show pics of the backyard snails side-by-side with some that i'd made...maybe a couple of snails kissing...a headband, a bracelet. i thought i'd do a search, find a little mythology about snails, it would be sweet, right?

so i sat down and cut out the necessary pieces for 5 or 6 snails; i guess i sort of became one with the tao of the snail, because after several hours i had completed only one. then i snuggled with nai, and took a nap. yum.

tonight as i took photos of the one, solitary snail that i was able to extract out of my feeble crafting oeuvre, it struck me that i don't need to 'google' snail. because there's really only one thing we need to remember about snails. duh. they're slow.

everything that happened this morning slowed me down. and with or without vomit, class trips, or anemic crafting, i woke up with my two beautiful children this morning and i put them to bed tonight. we read stories, they made me laugh, and negotiated their way to having cupcakes for desert without finishing their vegetables.

i'm thinking that if the officer who shot this man down had spent a morning last week in his backyard, maybe he would have absorbed some of the snail's tao; maybe as he drew his gun he would have heard the snails say 'slow down'.

slow down

and maybe our neighbor omar edwards would be tucking in his young, young boys tonight. i'm going
to try listening to the snails and omar, and remember to let go, let god, and slow down.

meet omar the gastropod

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