Zaviera is windsurfing, her arm thrust out the window as we hug another corner in the Mini Cooper. Joaquin sits in the back singing, brow furrowed, hands karate-chopping the air. My hair has not been brushed. The two frenchbraids I’ve been favoring lately because they are easy at yoga, contained during the rest of the day, and give me a sense of playfulness that doesn’t exist anywhere else in my body right now, have grown fuzzy. I’m sure there is old mascara on my eyelashes. I’ve been having the equivalent of a surfer girl shower; a quick swipe with a wet towel here and there, deodarant, lotion, wipe away the eye boogars and I’m declared decent. My jaw, at 8:30 a.m., is clenched from the first two hours of the morning. Sol was yelling-talking, pacing, obsessing, doing everything but putting on his sandals and packing his bag for school. The dogs were whining. Pepita was leaking urine on the floor. Underfoot, unruly, and I was drinking weak tea because Joaquin poured water in the coffee grinder last night. As I came back from dragging the dogs out to the kennel/aviary, I heard Sol scream. High-pitched, piercing, and I’m sure, echoing through the neighborhood. “Great,” I thought. “Now we are not only the neighbors with the big, dangerous dog and cars parked on the grass, but we are also now the neighbors that cause our eldest to scream like he’s trying to break the sound barrier to escape from us.”
Sol had opened the front door and led Joaquin to the slowly deflating pool in front of the apartment downstairs. Deflating because between the five cats that live here, it doesn’t matter how many dishes of water we put out, they all choose to dig their claws into the side of the pool to drink. Dan had reached his point of limitation with Sol.
I feel like I have no right to complain. In truth, I don’t have a desire to complain, I just struggle against the fact that I am surrounded by a perfect life and I love my children with a ferocity that causes me physical pain at times, a literal ache in the center of my body, a hunger in my brain, but yet I still reach a point where everything in me digs in its heels and rebels. After a good momentum with my writing and thesis, Dan and Sol returned to school and I found myself at home, feeling like a ragdoll pulled between Zaviera and Joaquin. For the first three weeks I managed. I felt proud of myself. I thought, “You know, I might just be a pretty good mother after all.” And then I hit the fourth week and a fever rolled over my body again, my limbs grew heavy, my patience crouched in a tight ball in the center of my heart, mumbling to itself, “I don’t wanna…I don’t wanna…I don’t wanna…”
But when you are a parent, there is no allowance for ‘I don’t wanna…’ There is only a clenching down of the jaw, a rolling of the neck, a stretching of the shoulders, fists tightened, fingers extended, kettle flicked on, coffee poured; a counting down of the hours until the weight of children falling asleep on my chest releases me to go find Dan, to burrow into the couch, to lose myself in 20 minutes of a comedy and belly laughing a little louder than I should.
In the car, Zaviera turns to me and declares, “Mommy, I can feel God!”
Her fingers dive into the wind as I pick up speed. In front of us, sunlight slants down on the land. Ponga trees umbrella out over moist earth. Cicadas buzz. Just as I will always call Iphone applications ‘appointments’, Zaviera will always call cicadas ‘komodos’ and when she turns to me and tells me that the komodos are so loud, I don’t want to correct her.
“Is that you, Jesus?” Zaviera’s fingers shake hands with the wind.
She continues her conversation with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and I want to cry or pray or be put on pause.
I want to shatter this point of limitation within my body, mind, spirit.
I want to tumble through to the other side and find myself free of weight, fatigue.
Like my daughter, I want to be windsurfing God.