I wrote a piece about our trip to the snow, or rather our trip to the “snow” as it’s the driest winter Tahoe has seen in recorded history (you were so right, Al Gore), but my essay got erased. Twice. That’s what you get for having children up your nether-regions – and all over your computer with their sticky little fingers – during the “holidays”. I don’t know who was having a holiday but it certainly wasn’t me.
Here’s the “snow” in a nutshell: one of our party (I won’t say who) subjecting the rest to highly stinky HAFE (high-altitude flatulence explosions, an actual medical ailment, look it up), two different Caprons simultaneously slipping on ice and peeing their pants (I won’t say who), sleeping - or should I say “sleeping” - in five bunks stacked on a wall with children crawling through the beds like a Habitrail at four a.m., Mae violently struck with altitude sickness when we took the tram to the top of Squaw (migraine aura followed by terrible headache followed by vomiting) while Mihiretu and Lana ice-skated with walker-like contraptions, like drunk eighty-year-old hooligans. And, of course, all the discomfort and hassle was worth it with one glimpse of our three children bundled like Michelin Men pulling a red plastic sled up a small hill of icy, muddy snow. That’s pretty much the long and the short of it. Can I call it done now?
In other news, we gave Mae her own room a week ago. Our office is now her lair. My desk is now in the sunny livingroom, one friend’s painting and another friend’s shadow box arranged above it. I’ve given up a room of one’s own but I like my new little space and Mae certainly likes hers. She has escaped her brother and landed in a pre-teen haven, her own private Idaho.
Last night Ben and I listened as Mae sang herself to sleep. “The flower said I wish I was a tree,” she warbled. “The tree said I wish that I could be a different kind of tree. The cat wished that it was a bee. The turtle wished that it could fly really high into the sky over rooftops and then dive deep into the sea.”
It was lovely, her singing. Not that she’s particularly gifted musically but her desire and ability to do it for herself was beautiful. She didn’t know we were listening. This was raising her voice in song for the love of it, for the love of herself.
When she moved on to a different song on the same Kimya Dawson album, a nice little number entitled “Same Shit”, it was clear it was time to pull the plug.
“Go to sleep, Mae,” Ben called.
“Day after day after day, it’s the same shit. Day after day after day, it’s the same shit. Day after day after day, it’s the same shit.”
“Mae!” Ben and I called together.
There was silence and then quietly, happily, “Day after day after day after day after day.”