It’s quiet right now. I wonder how long it’ll last. DS is doing his research paper (final draft, last minute, most of it done today, and changed from it’s original by a lot). He calls me in to help frequently, but those visits amount to a brief suggestion from me, and the words “okay, you can go now,” from him. Soon he’ll call me back in. I’m sure of it.
This quiet is so wonderful. A couple of lamps on in the living room; otherwise the light is low. The cat jumped over my knitting magazine racks, into the space between the piano and the wall and, discovering nothing alive (or dead), she leapt out again and padded noiselessly upstairs to DD’s room, undoubtedly hoping the heater was turned on again. DD (and the cat, I’m sure) complained that during the day someone (DH) must have come in and turned it off. Now the room is “fifteen degrees colder in here.”
And that might be true. It has been cold here, and it’s not quite officially winter. The snow is still on the ground, with more forecast for the middle night and on into tomorrow. The kids, of course, are hoping for morning delays at the very least; better would be the total closure of school for the day (or the remaining three days leading up to Winter Break).
In many ways, I’m all for it. I like when they get to sleep in, and I do, too. I like not having to stew about what to fix for lunches and who will eat what for breakfast. There’s nothing worse on a hectic morning when I ask DD “what do you want for breakfast?” to hear “I don’t know!” They are hungry (or not) and want you to figure out what it is they want, even though they turn down every available option as quickly as you can come up with something. Or, they insist they are not hungry and “you want me to throw up?” if you make them eat. It’s a no-win situation.
DS has called me in, and now I’m back. It doesn’t take long – just long enough to discover he hasn’t read any of the Long Term Dependent Project “Bible” – the research paper guidelines that spell out in detail how the paper should be structured, according to MLA standards. “You mean I have to read this whole thing? This is as big as Lord of the Rings!” “Yes, you do, and no, it isn’t.”
Thirteen is extreme. It’s big and dramatic and tiring and electrically charged. Thirteen is full of absolutes, with no room for grey areas. A thing either is, or it isn’t. And it’s essential to know what will happen before it happens. It’s crucial to know (yes or no) if a thing is going to happen, and exactly when. If the answer to something the thirteen-year old wants is no, then it is important to be persistent in discovering when the answer will turn into a yes.
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The report is finished. I didn’t read it. I think DS was just so intent on being done with it, that he didn’t encourage me to go over it with a fine-toothed comb. In some cases, done is better than done well, or thoroughly done. Since then he’s been bounding around the house, and finally consented to eat some dinner (at around 8:45 pm), having insisted earlier that he wasn’t hungry. (See above.) When the report was done (in its own way) I presented DS with a warmed up plate of fried rice I’d made and some peas. After wolfing that down he announced he was starving and what else was there to eat? A bowl of homemade applesauce and homemade yogurt, and a slice of just-out-of-the-oven Italian potato bread. He’s now bouncing off the walls worse than usual.
The potato bread turned out well enough. I’ve made four loaves in the past 24 hours. The first two didn’t make it past this afternoon, and of the two that just came out of the oven, two thirds of one of those loaves is devoured. There’s nothing like fresh warm bread. Now there’s “probably a quarter of a loaf” left, according to DD, who just sliced off another hunk. I’ve eaten my fair share of the bread throughout the day – I think I’ve had enough.
I also started another batch of yogurt, and strained it into it’s container to incubate overnight. Overnight, while the snow begins to fall, and the school reports are revised, the phone calls come to announce either a late arrival time, or no time at all. A day with no real certainty to it yet, no definite answers. Only the black of night, the white of what’s left on the ground, waiting.