The first thing that happened was that I had developed the most delicious routine to my life for the first time in as long as I could remember. Autumn was in the air and I loved the season more than any other. Autumn was when Andy and I fell in love. Autumn was when I realized I was pregnant with both of my boys. And this autumn in particular, I felt for the first time in a very long time that I had a place to go (other than Weight Watchers) where people welcomed me. The Bidwell-Coggin front office had become the bar stool at Cheers where everybody knew my name. Well, okay, none of the parents cared to learn it. But I had a chair and a desk and teachers who inquired after my wellbeing.
* * * * *
It was nearly indescribable the way days, no, weeks, could fly by in the life of a stay-at-home mom, or any mother for that matter. Since we could afford cleaning help only once a month, I was pretty much in charge of keeping our tiny Cape Cod style house nestled in the Berkeley hills as tidy as possible. Between the four of us, an ancient golden retriever named Beansie (so named for her flatulence problem) and Mama Kitty who was nearly the size of the dog, it was imperative that we kept things picked up as much as possible lest we loose someone in a pile of laundry, books or blue prints.
One room tucked away in the eves of the house had been the boy’s room when they were babies. Later, we moved them to the second bedroom upstairs and Andy and I made a den downstairs into the master bedroom. That tiny room had since become something of an office for me. I had a desk with one of Andy’s hand-me-down computers. There was a small daybed on which I had neatly organized bills to be paid and papers to be filed. Floral chintz balloon shades topped the dormer windows that looked out over the front garden. The wicker rocker in which I had sung both boys to sleep sat in the corner by the blue and white striped wallpaper. Barf stains were still visible on the coordinating fabrics. It was a sweet room. But it had imbued me with inertia for years.
As the boys got bigger, they shared bunk beds, toy chests, bookshelves and a fascinating symmetry in the second bedroom upstairs. Sometimes, they slept tightly wrapped around one another. But usually, I could tell which bunk was whose the previous night by the state of the comforter cover. Zach was as loud as he was small. He kicked the covers this way and that. He read his dreams aloud for all to hear. He stacked his books high and left toys out in a treacherous path. Zeppo, on the other hand, lived for order and neatness. Soldiers were only good if they stayed in formation. Blocks needed to be stacked. Books wanted to be in the jackets. They were my yin and yang and in many ways, a manifestation of who I had once been and what I had become.