By some miracle - and I have, by the by, made several mentions of/allusions to this before - I have found myself in the strange position of being no longer the mother of babies, but rather the mother of two, bona fide children. Aleks is by all accounts positively school-aged. Bastian has turned four and now even four-and-a-half and if I'm remembering a younger Aleks correctly, that is the precise age at which the intensity of toddlerhood and preschool-aged-hood began to diminish and evolve into something else entirely.
This foursomeness is an absolute miracle to me. This four-ish-ness and this seven-ish-ness and all the joy and bizarre new struggles we've found here means that for the first time in my life as a mother, I was able to strap the children into the car (and, admittedly, Aleks strapped himself in then proceeded to read the word "Britax" on the tag of his seat, which necessitated a conversation about what exactly that means), then handed one child two hand-me-down Bone comics and another child a book of mazes and a marker, and set off on a four-hour journey listening to the quiet murmur of activity from the back seat without needing to help anyone at all. In fact, I was able to open my notebook, review the things-to-do for the next week, write an agenda for my Co-op Change Committee meeting and even wish that I had brought more yarn on my trip so as to get started on Christmas gifts.
As we drive, this miracle mingles with the miracle of late-afternoon winter sunshine under clear skies: that miracle of golden light which fills the world, casting leafless trees and dried corn stalks in rich, autumnal tones, making winter seem but a nice cozy nap instead of the gray desolate wasteland I sense it to be come February. I feel warm with contentment in the front seat, allowing these intersecting phenomenon to expose me to the fact of my happiness, just when I was so busy as to be unaware, just when I'd rushed about trying to make meaningful events for the children and organizing all plans and luggage and people from honeyhut and movie theater and grandma's house to car and back, over, and through. I find myself surprised at myself and so thrilled about it all that I casually rest my head and take a nap.