Midstream

Another winter afternoon. It's many months since I wrote anything here, or wanted to, or had the time. As I wrote in the wake of my first baby, babies seem inimical to writing. Now we are four, I think how leisurely life was then, how much less we had to do with one than with two. Again, it's wonderful, but I wonder at how anyone copes, especially the ones on their own, and the ones who might as well be. I wonder at how normal frantic is, and how frantic normal is. I have this recurring thought that this is the middle, the midstream. We are in the midst of life: in the thick of work and the lark, the plunge of parenting. Enrollments and appointments and payments. The relay run of playgroup and play dates and library books. The buckling of belts, the folding and unfolding of prams. The duck into the chemist, the dash into the grocery store, kids in tow. Wipes for everything; a veritable infinity of washing. Nappies in handbags and on bedside tables - places that used to hold books. And all this before we even begin down the still more crowded route marked 'School.' I try to remember all those sayings about short days, long years, passing seasons; try to relish the moments with a delicious baby and a delightful four-year-old, at the same time trying to remain clean and sane, on a modicum of sleep. My daydreams are about hot showers (with the door closed) in minimalist hotel rooms with thick, crisp sheets and stacked towels, little islands of silence and cleanliness. One day, maybe. But not for years yet. Not till we make landfall on the other side of infancy. I think about the Frost poem from our wedding -

 And you were given this swiftness, not for haste

Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,

But in the rush of everything to waste,

That you may have the power of standing still...

That power - if we ever had it - seems remote in the rush of everything.  But in the middle of all this locomotion, this cataract called 'normal,' there are days, hours, when all is calm, all is bright. Sometimes they last long enough for me to write about them.