i am here

I've parked myself in a coffee shop this afternoon.  Ordered lunch.  Brought my laptop.  Logged in.  Fingers on the keyboard, rhythmically tap, tap, tapping. Word becomes sentence becomes paragraph becomes deleted.  Cursor at top-left, blinking.  Waiting for inspiration to hit.

You would think, with the view, with the still newness of living here, that inspiration would be as readily available as air to breathe.

It probably is.

You would think that a yet-unblogged two week trip back to the States would provide fodder enough.

It probably does.

You would think that a six-month break from posting (or longer, depending on what you count as a post) would have left a backlog of options to post about so deep and wide that I would only have to push on the now spongy walls of my mind and the ideas would come flowing through.

They probably would.

Probably, but now it's been too long and I've forgotten where the sweet spots are and I'm scared I won't be able break into all that pent up inspiration without being drowned once the damn is broken.  I'm hesitant and clumsy with my blows and tap, tap, tap as I might, the only stream I seem to find is that of inane consciousness. Thoughts pouring through my head at a seemingly endless rate.  One with little or no connection to the one before or the one after or the one after that.  A constant state of consciousness of incoherence that leaves me too tired and too restless to sit down and pluck the meaningful from the swirl.

I almost gave into the choking swirl that urged me to stay home.   
Everything you need is here.  No need to go out.  Leftovers in the fridge.  Wasteful to go buy what you want when you can make do with what is here.  The sun isn't shining yet.  You're going to wear that sweater, again?  You'll have to carry your laptop to the grocery afterwards.  Won't you look pretentious, (should have)stay(ed)-at-home-nobody prancing through town as if big sunglasses and a fake leather bag give you meaning.  What about the time?  You could lose track of time.  You could lose track of time and have to rush down to the school and you haven't even gone to the grocery yet for dinner.  Have fun trying to justify that:  change to dinner plans just because you couldn't get to the store on a day with absolutely no obligations.  Unnecessary changes are *great* for a boy who is slow to accept change in general.  Better yet, take him to the store after school.  After school, after homework, after returning to the school for a parent-teacher conference.  Being up all night, coughing, won't have him running on self-control reserves already.  Go ahead, make his day longer.  That's not likely to turn out badly.  Stay home.  You can write just as easily here.  You don't even know what you're going to write about.  Bit proud to call it writing anyway.  Typing, more like.  With nothing to say.  You could just as easily do that here.  Get a jump on the laundry.  The floor down there really needs sweeping, too.  It'll just take a minute to unload the dishwasher, clean off the countertops.  Call that place about the thing.  You should really get that call made before you forget about it again and it's another week later and you still haven't worked out the details, whatever they may wind up being.  Procrastinator.  You're never going to get it done if you don't just get it started.  Probably can't even find the number.  The desk is a mess.  Are you ever going to finish that project?  What about that one?  Did you even get started on that or can we file that under "great idea, no follow thru" as well?  Just stay here.  Sit down and make a list of all the things that need done.  All the things started.  Prioritize them.  Obligations first, obviously.  If you didn't want to do it, you shouldn't have committed to it.  Who's fault is it you don't know how to say "no"?  You've got to start thinking first.  You should probably put ice on your ankle.  Probably wasn't your best bet to go out running with it still swollen from before.  At the very least you should have kept yourself in check.  Walked.  Too worried about keeping up your reputation?  The reputation of a nobody running nowhere for no reason.  Foolish.  Hubris.  Pride goeth before the (twisted ankle that led to the) fall.  Doesn't make sense to go back out on it now.  You should probably just stay here...


In the midst of the roar a single word broke through:  Go.

And so now, somehow, I find myself here, in a coffee shop, lunch dishes cleared.  The sun is breaking through the clouds, shimmering on the water below, warming my shoulders.  Fingers tapping aimlessly at the keyboard, waiting for inspiration to trickle through.

Poised.

Ready.

It feels good to be here.

of biology and career choices

For a while now Aaron has been inching closer and closer to "The Talk" with his questions about where he came from.  I had been able to satisfy his curiosity by answering exactly the questions he's asked -- that he has DNA from both Josh and me, that he grew from an egg in my uterus, that Josh had to give me some of his DNA in order for the egg to start growing into a baby, that I used my muscles to push him out through my vagina when he was big enough, etc.  Mostly stuff I could look him in the eye and tell him matter-of-factly.

I try to use the correct terminology. I try (despite my Puritan upbringing) to not get too squirmy when I use the correct terminology.  I'm more than a little thankful that most of these conversations happened last year in the car on the way to or from preschool so that "looking him in the eye" could be a loose translation of "glancing a little less frequently than usual in his direction in the rearview mirror".

A week ago Saturday, as we were all sitting quietly in the living room he sprung the big one on us. "But how did Daddy give you his DNA so you could put it with the egg that grew into me?"

One of the upsides to where we live now is that it is, quite literally, less than a two minute walk to school.  One of the downsides to where we live now is that it would be ridiculous to hop in the car to drive him to school.  Especially on a Saturday.  So, here we are, comfy and cozy on a (probably soggy) Saturday afternoon, well fed, reasonably rested, with no rearview mirror to act as a bumper from this most dreaded of questions.

In the echoing silence my first response was "Shit." (I managed to keep that in my head.)

My next response was "Daddy?" (Unfortunately for Josh, I said that out loud.)

Josh's face suggested that he was valiantly trying to figure out how the combination of Aaron working on a giant floor puzzle + Josh responding to work emails + me scouring the internet for weatherstripping x SportsCenter on in the background = Let's Have A Family Discussion About Sex!

His first couple of attempts at where to start gave me enough time to remember, "Hey! We have a book! With words and pictures! Aimed at kids! It's science!", so I sent Aaron up to get his Little Encyclopedia of the Human Body. He brought it down, sat down beside me and perused the index, then flipped to page 78 - Egg and Sperm:  How babies are made.  (Methinks maybe he had already read this page?)

We sat there and read it together.  Well, as long as "read it together" means basically the same thing as "I sat on the floor and made him sit on the floor in front of me, facing the book rather than my face and then I choked out the words on the page":

Adult humans use their reproductive systems to make babies.  Males produce cells called sperm that can swim.  Females produce a single egg each month.  To make a baby, a man puts his penis inside a woman's vagina to release sperm.  The sperm swim toward the egg and fertilize it.  The fertilized egg grows into a baby inside the uterus.

He sat there for a few minutes, quietly taking in the rest of the information listed, helpfully, next to the corresponding pictures.

I considered whether or not I could just leave it there and remain true to The Teacher's Oath. Hey, I'm not REALLY a teacher anymore, so it doesn't really apply, right? Right? He's my child, not my student... what do you mean my child is my most important student and if I don't feel compelled to honor him enough "to impart the knowledge [he] seek[s]" then I probably should reconsider that wild dream of every going back in the classroom. Shit. All right then. Deep breath. Here goes: asked him if he had any questions.

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A: Where does the penis go?

Me: Into the vagina.

A: Why does it have to go there?

Me: So the sperm can fertilize the egg.

A: Oh.

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A: Sounds kinda yucky and messy.


Possibly related:  This past Wednesday Aaron informed me that he thought he'd like to be a "blesser" when he grew up. When I asked him what exactly that was, he elaborated, "A blesser, a priest.  You know, like Father McGriel?"

I suppose there is a certain "neatness" inherent in following a calling into the priesthood...