I’ve been missing my kids lately. Partly it’s because I haven’t seen them in three months. I’m still governed by the school calendar. “What happened,” I wonder, “to Spring Break?” My daughter works for a living and takes grownup vacations. My son decided to stay on campus this year, watching basketball and writing stories. Princeton lost its NCCA game to Kentucky, by one point. Not bad.
But today I miss my kids because they are together. They like each other, those two. And I can see, in my mind’s eye, their heads close as they ride the train up to New York City. Hers, new penny red, his, dark brown. They’ve both got good hair. My daughter, without blow dryers, develops actual ringlets. My son’s boy hair sticks up straight if he sleeps on it wrong.
They are 23 and almost 21. I suppose I shouldn’t be talking about their hair as though they were toddlers, when it all belonged to me. Still, I imagine my son reading, head bent. I imagine my daughter, as she does sometimes, resting her head on his shoulder, peacefully for a minute, and then, because she likes nothing more than to engage, turning her face up and staring, just to be a pest.
I see them laughing.
I remember how it was when they were small. I’d lie down on the sofa to read, or just to rest. My son would clamber up, chubby feet and all, to cuddle. Then my daughter would come lie down on my other side. Quiet and peaceful. For a minute. Maybe two.
Then someone would touch someone. And someone would nudge someone, and before you knew it I was lying underneath what felt like a tied up sack of cats. Two children had far more than their fare share of knees and elbows. I’d always jump up and run away. Me exasperated, they in that odd childhood state of wrangling for fun until somebody cries. As I look back, now, I don’t feel any exasperation at all. I loved them pokey and I loved them soft. Still do, albeit more abstractly.
It’s pouring rain. If somebody could tell New York to please send us back our weather, after my kids are finished, of course, I’d appreciate it. Have a wonderful weekend.