You don't always realize the routines you keep until faced with an atypical week (or a toddler who points them out to you). The last two weeks have been anything but typical, hinting at a break from routines planned and unplanned. But we are slowly finding our way back. Of course, one thing that remains constant regardless of our circumstances is Audrey's ability to call things like she sees them, ask the pointed questions, and keep us laughing in spite of ourselves. A few gems from the week:
On Sunday, Audrey was visiting time out. I don't remember her crime, but I do remember her yelling, "I have no future until you get me out of here!"
On Monday, Jason and I were discussing the Superbowl, analyzing the Colts' loss. Audrey had been playing quietly nearby before asking Jason, "Did they lose because they didn't pass it to you?"
While getting ready for bed Wednesday, Audrey said, "God must be tired from making you and me and Daddy and my big bear and all that stuff."
Thursday, I took Audrey to an indoor playground. Since Audrey's brother has come around and simple routines have changed, such as how we get in and out of the car, I find myself explaining in detail what's about to happen, wanting Audrey to know that even though I'm doing things differently, I haven't forgotten her and am not leaving her out. When we pulled into the parking lot on Thursday, I explained that I was going to get the stroller out first, then her little brother, and then I'd come get her. "You tell me that every day, do [don't] you?" she said.
On Friday, Audrey came up to Jason and me carrying a favorite stuffed animal: a leopard that Jason bought her last summer that the two of them named Tiger Woods. "He's my roommate," she said. Ahem.
Nathan has begun to develop his own routines: stretching as he wakes up, putting his hands in the way of his mouth every time we try to give him a bottle, smiling after he finishes eating as if to signify that he's full, smiling again right as he finds sleep. He's the strong silent type. He likes to hold his own weight and will stand and keep his neck straight if you hold his hands.
Yes, our routines have changed a bit over the last two weeks as Jason has been home in recovery mode and I've been searching for those nonexistent extra minutes each day to fit in new caretaker tasks and old tasks that he typically takes on for me. But some remain untouched. Before any car ride, no matter how short, I kiss each kid on the forehead as I buckle them in their seats and tell them that I love them. Just in case. I know the odds are good that each ride will be as typical as the one before. But I don't like to play the odds. I like to play it safe. I'm what you'd call an optimistic realist. I know that the occurrence of bad things is rare; I also know there is nothing special about me that makes me more invincible than the next guy. Yesterday marked the fourteenth anniversary of a car accident that claimed the life of a high school classmate and friend. Brian was a careful boy: careful with his actions, careful with his words, careful with the feelings of others. A careful boy who hit a patch of black ice. And much like September 11th now, or the Kennedy assassination for a previous generation, my classmates and I can tell you where we were when we heard the news. The days following are etched in our minds more clearly than some events that have happened in the last 48 hours. Brian was never given the luxury of adulthood and the joys that come with it, but for those who spent their childhoods around him, his presence - the way in which he chose to live his life and the unapologetic love he showed for those around him, helped to shape the adults we've become and the little rituals by which we live.
A Happy Valentine's Day to you tomorrow. Be safe. Love well.