My son is turning rapidly into a toddler, exhibiting a whole range of behaviors I haven't seen before. I observe, open my mouth, catch myself with a second thought and then close it. Each word that comes from my lips carries with it the weight of a million tiny moments that add up to make me a mother. What kind of mother do I want to be to this new, challenging creature I find before me? Each word is a path to a different place. How carefully do I need to tread?
All afternoon I edit, edit, edit potential blog posts about myself, my son, my husband, about our family, and none of them seem to get close enough to completion to post. Who do I want us to be? I'm locking myself and my family into words, wrapping us in chains of my own composition. Which chains do I choose? Which are least likely to chafe us as we wax eloquent into our future?
I walk out of my house and it's dark. It's too early to be this dark, and I've had too much coffee, and I'm wired and scattered, not in the right head space to teach my yoga class. There's too much unanticipated weight to this darkness. My teaching has changed in the past two years. I was pregnant, and then postpartum; I attracted an older, slower crowd; none of us move like we used to to. And then it turns out to be a small group of longtime regulars, and we open with a Sun Salutation, which I haven't done in months, and my body is awkward as it moves through the series of poses. I breathe deep, into my belly, ribcage, chest, and I feel the buzz of the caffeine, which is all wrong for yoga. All juxtaposition and no flow. All sharp angles and lyrics that almost rhyme and promises whispered but not quite fulfilled and the early dark of daylight savings time in autumn.
I'm edgy, and anxious. I want to be a to-do list with items neatly checked off. Or I want to be a lazy river meandering in summer, without promises or a map. I don't want to sit at a table with too much caffeine, a faceless bureaucrat intent on pinning my professional promise to paper, a toddler desperate to destroy whatever he can get his hands on, oh look, there goes the ketchup, a version of my life stretched into proper proportion for public consumption, a body too stiff for a Sun Salutation.
But here I am.