I know it’s wrong to enjoy sick kids’ sweet snuggling fevers. I know it’s wrong to hope, once in a while, that the whirling tornadoes in the house get the flu just so they’ll stop running for a few minutes.

And it’s beyond despicable to enjoy a child’s broken limb.

But dang, the peace that has swirled through our house since Peanut broke his arm is significantly changing my life. I feel hope and vigor and joy, y’all. I feel this might actually be why people make it through the day and still like their children.

See, a wounded child in pain avoids things that cause him pain. He might, for instance, avoid a younger brother and talk sweetly to him to ensure that roughness is kept at bay. He might stay nestled in bed to play with LEGOs already built instead of screaming in rage that things won’t work or running like a cheetah through the house from project to project. He might even, perhaps, ask to be read to, and put a head on the shoulder he’s so long said he is too old for.

I would never want my child hurt. I’m sad for him that he’s hobbled. But the silver lining is about 90% of the cloud for me, and I’m really enjoying the seachange that has come from this week.

I praise thee, bringer of peace and breathing room

I praise thee, bringer of peace and breathing room

Blackberry heaven

There was a lengthy period in my life when I wanted to remain child-free, and that phase was dominated by the knowledge that, as a parent, I would never get the last piece of cake. I knew that you had to share with children, and I knew I’d believe, if I ever had kids, that they should get that which we both wanted, as long as I didn’t need it. Kids win a tie in the “I want some” realm, so I wasn’t going to have kids. Yes, just because I wanted more cake. Simple, selfish, self-aware. Fine.

Well, I had a baby. And not only do I not get the last piece of cake, I don’t get any cake. Even when I serve myself a piece of cake, I often get one mouthful before someone is demanding my time, my attention, my physical presence. If I get near a cake, someone falls or cries or needs a hug or can’t work the vacuum or gets locked in the bathroom or needs water or wants a snack or wants to go outside or hears something that needs identifying. I never get a freaking moment alone with cake anymore, because I don’t get a moment alone. I don’t even want the last piece, I just want a zen moment with one bite, experiencing it with all my senses. Unfortunately, I’m only allowed to operate one of my senses at a time anymore, because eight or so of them (there are at least nine senses, you know. look it up.) are focused on the safety and well being of a person smaller and slightly less competent than myself.

So imagine my mixed emotions at being in the glorious Bay Area last weekend with a few minutes and a sparse but willing blackberry bramble before me. I love a good ripe blackberry. And so does my son. He pretty much lives for fresh fruit, especially berries, especially berries he picks himself. Seriously, he goes apeshit for berries. We spend every week of summer at some farm or the other, picking berries and stuffing him full. He eats at least 6 pounds of berries a week, when they’re available. And the farms in SoCal are dried up, parched like the vapid wasteland of desert that it is. So we were thrilled to see berries near grandma’s.

Well, my thrill was short-lived because it became clear that my task was to pick (and be pricked) and Peanut’s job was to taste. It was fun, and all, but I only ate two berries in 15 minutes before the bramble grew too dense for picking.

And then it happened. The next day Spouse came home. He went berry looking with us. And, get this, Spouse and Peanut got distracted playing ball, so I got to eat the berries I picked. Me. I got some.

I can’t spell what I mean, but here’s my attempt:   aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh. Mm.

With Spouse around (and I had forgotten this since we’ve been without him for most of the past two months) I can actually exist again. I have full thoughts in the moments that they play or talk or interact together. I shower uninterrupted (not true, but there’s less pressure to get out and save the small one when he’s there). I run unencumbered by a BOB. And I can eat myself purple, carefully choosing the best berries, unhurried and unassailed, and nine-sensing every one.

Ah. Ten minutes to myself in a bramble is now my idea of heaven. Thanks, Spousey. Maybe next time I’ll pick a few for you.