Tonight as I was talking to Aunt Audora on the phone, rehashing how her poor twin daughter was thrown-up on during her second day of kindergarten which required a complete hair washing by the school nurse, you came downstairs and told me you could not sleep. I told you it was late and with your father out of town and me scrubbing the floor, there really wasn’t anything I could do at the moment and please just try to close your eyes. Ten minutes later, this time I was cleaning the bathroom, you popped back down to tell me you were still wide awake (yes I know, you are standing right in front of me) and you think it has something to do with the “comfy-ness” factor of your bed. Moms all over the world internally roll their eyes upon hearing this type of language because we know there is absolutely nothing within our power to fix the comfy-ness factor of any bed of any 8 year old anywhere who can’t fall asleep.
I thought about how you usually stay up and talk star wars or baseball with Dad and how we had two galloons of ice cream in the freezer and so I suggested in a very nonchalant way that maybe a bowl of Aldi’s vanilla would help cure your horrible and unexpected insomnia.
“Oh yes mom, this is a great idea,” matching my calm and off handed tone. “The coldness of the ice cream will absolutely make me want to jump into my covers and fall asleep when I’m done!” And really, who can argue that?
And so I scooped us each a generous bowl of the good stuff, you looked at me very serious and said: “So, you do this every night??”
Your father always says in jest that every night after we put you all to bed, we come down stairs and throw a big party and eat as much ice cream as we want, and this statement is not entirely untrue. A lot of times while I’m folding laundry your dad will say, “want some ice cream?” and I’ll say, “oh no I’m fine”, and he will say “vanilla or cookies and cream?” and then he just scoops us both a small-ish, large-ish bowl. He’s always been the designated scooper and I have always been the designated cleaner-upper. I’ve often times debated if this is a problem or just a habit (maybe both) but to answer your question: yes, we pretty much do this every night.
We ate our ice cream at the kitchen table and talked about the ginormous yellow spider you found today and identified as a Venusta Orchard . You recounted how it’s web was hanging in the milkweed that is growing adjacent to the creek and how you almost walked right into the yellow and black creature while showing me the way the water has found a new path around your damn. You were very animated as you spoke with your hands just like your father and all the other northern Italians that I know.
We talked about golf and how grandpa was a real famous golfer and how his pictures are in newspapers and magazines and isn’t that amazing? You asked me if I ever wanted to be anything else, besides a nurse, when I was growing up and so I told you I spent my first year away at college studying to become an English teacher . I was about to tell you I switched to nursing before I was able to learn about run-on sentences and proper placement of punctuation, but you interrupted me and asked, “what’s an English teacher?” And then I quickly wrote myself a note to order more homeschooling grammar books on amazon prime tomorrow.
After you licked your bowl clean and slowly swallowed the last creamy vanilla drops you stopped and hesitated for a brief moment before saying:
“Hey mom, I really feel like I want some pretzels.”
And in that moment, it was never more evident that you were my son.
You see Auggie, before your Dad and I go to bed, but after I put our ice cream party bowls in the sink, I almost always grab a handful of pretzels…because you absolutely cannot have the sweet without the salty.
And this is just one of the many truths of life.