A Midsummer Afternoon

There’s a saying in Japanese, “Women’s hearts are like the autumn sky.”

I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

But I can tell you what small children’s hearts are like: a late summer Georgia afternoon. The bees buzz in a never-ending drone in the background, the weeping willows flutter ever so slightly, catching a breeze that no one else can feel. The pressure builds and builds, if you listen closely you might hear a rumble way off beyond the mountains, but no one seems to notice. Somewhere in the distance a neighbor calls, “Hot enough fer ya?” And just when you think the afternoon will never end and you will be fanning yourself and pressing your glass of iced tea to your forehead till kingdom come, it happens. The heavens open like somebody unzipped them and rain falls so hard and fast and continuous that it looks like iridescent ropes you could climb all the way up to the clouds, if you were light enough.

The lightning flashes, hither and yon, close enough to make you shake in your flip-flops one minute, one Mississippi,far enough that you sigh with relief the next, two Mississippi.The thunder rumbles on and on in an endless drumroll so that is becomes impossible to tell whether it is booming many times or just the one. Eyes search the sky for finger clouds, for this kind of weather often leads to tornadoes. Nervous mothers put their babies down to nap in the basement. “It’ll be cooler here, sugar,” they say.

And as suddenly as it has started, quickly the rain lets up with a plop plop for emphasis. You breathe a sigh of relief, and then get on with your day.

The thunderstorm today came suddenly and unexpected.

Me Too announced out of nowhere that when she had a baby she would let it eat candy all day.

“Oh, I doubt that,” I say (thinking I can use this for a chance to talk about nutrition and the importance of eating a balanced diet.) “Too much candy will make your baby too full for the food his body needs. Plus it’s bad for his teeth.”

Me Too bursts into uncontrollable sobs. “But I don’t know how to cook!” she wails. “What will my baby do?”

I feel like I’ve stepped into bizarre-o world as I say, “You’re only four. You’ve got lots of time to learn. We’ll start tomorrow.” Shouldn’t I be encouraging her to become a CEO or a lab technician or something? Why is she only interested in cooking and babies? Am I doing her a disservice by being a stay at home mom?

“Okay, poo-poo,” she says.

The storm clouds have dissipated suddenly and it’s like they were never there.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Garreth
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 06:32:07

    Beautiful poetry – I especially like the poo poo bit ;-)


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