Long ago and far away, I dreamed of being on Broadway. Of living a gypsy's life, hobnobbing with my theater pals, trekking on the Subway to my next audition. I was basically going to be Marsha Mason in "The Goodbye Girl". But without the kid.
Then something happened. It wasn't one thing, really, just a series of events, and a feeling that life could be about more than just me. Then I met my husband. He was funny and dark and mysterious, but he was a real mush-pot when he talked to his cat, so I knew that underneath that "I'll only bring you heartache" veneer was a heart of goo. I was right, and despite efforts to shake me loose, I held on like a terrier. (He didn't shake very hard). We got married nearly 13 years ago, and about eight years ago, for some strange reason, I started lobbying hard to have a child with him. He was completely ambivilent, and we sat in a therapists office for a year and a half before we realized that it might not be the end of something, but the beginning. And it was. Oh, yes. It was just the beginning.
Nothing in my previous life prepared me for how grateful I'd be for ordinary magic. I'm not talking about getting choked up over those sappy commercials. I used to get that way before I had Joe-Henry, but now I see how hard they were trying to lead me right to those tears. I'm talking about those things that you nearly miss, those moments that you catch out of the corner of your eye, for just fraction of a second. Sometimes I'll be making lunch, or picking up a stray sock, and muttering to myself about "not being the maid", and I'll look up and Joe-Henry will be bigger than he was five minutes before. Or I'll be reading the newspaper on a Sunday morning, and hear my two men playing downstairs, and the sound of thier voices coming up through the vent together is the happiest thing I've ever heard. I never knew how swept off my feet I would be by the men in my house on a daily basis. Sure, there is a lot of swearing. (By me, of course - that toilet seat left up will leave any sane woman cursing in a dark bathroom in the wee small hours.) But I feel so honored to be the female that lives in this house.
Yesterday, we had a very successful playdate here at our house. With a great little boy from my sons' class. I was nervous, but it couldn't have gone better, and in the course of the laughter, Joe-Henry finally lost the tooth that has been hanging by a thread for THREE DAYS. He was so surprised and excited, and so was his friend. He couldn't wait to put it under his pillow.
And then at 4:00 a.m., after a bad dream, he called me in. "Mom, the tooth fairy didn't come!" I stumbled down the hall to reassure him that she would, but she still had a lot of night left. He took his tooth out of the little pocket it was in, and held it in his hand. Then I saw that he was crying. He wiped his nose on his sleeve and looked at me with huge, watery eyes, and squeaked out "Mom. I don't want her to take it. Can I please keep it?" We decided that he could write her a note, and here's what he wrote, in his beautiful, scrawly, six year old hand:
I lost my tooth!
but I'm sad.
I want to...keep
for a few days
intell I'm redy.
I know how he feels. I'm not quite ready either.
But life is like that. Ready or not. Here it comes.
ps. The tooth fairy left five bucks. Either she's a sap, or she couldn't see the denomination in the dark. I'm betting on the latter.