I went to Starbucks tonight and was served by a long-haired, bushy-bearded man wearing a khaki pleated knee-length skirt, old-school Doc Martins, and 1990’s-style crew socks scrunched just so. These are the things that remind me I am no longer in Oklahoma.
The boys and I went out to breakfast today. They crowed over their whipped-cream-and-marshmallow-and-syrup-and-truffle-shaving-topped hot chocolates, and I crowed over them. They’ve been my right hand men. They’ve shouldered extra burdens and have kept cheerful hearts; and they’ve been my little companions and friends.
I wanted to warn them of the month ahead, of the long naps and sleeping-in-mornings I might have, of the weariness and grumpiness I might feel. We came up with strategies for when I’m harried and they don’t feel heard, and they offered ideas for fun activities that can fold into this short but unique end-of-pregnancy period of our lives.
We’re closing in on our time here. I can feel the end of the deployment and see, for the first time, the finish line. I can hardly believe it. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Suddenly I want to hug everything around me, my parents, their home, my childhood State, because it’s been hard, and it’s been real (yo), but it’s been good.
We’re on the brink of buying a larger vehicle. Six kids is the breaking point for our tired Odyssey. Tonight the simmering frustration at the lack of possible options (to which has it come down–a Suburban or a 12 passenger van?) and the subsequent drop in gas milage faded for me as I looked on the road at all the vehicles that passed. We don’t fit in any of those vehicles because we have six kids. What an incredible reason. What an amazing gift. What a reason for joy.
Ah, Oregon. You with your drippy days and tall evergreens, rolling hills and white capped mountains, organic farms and dazzling coastline; you with your bearded men and skirted boys, your i-Phone carrying “homeless”; you with your little town that will always feel a bit like home. Thanks for helping carry this heart.