I can’t really say there was a beginning or an end, it happened so fast. The side table lamp rattled a too-late warning, then the bed shook quick and hard like a wet dog. I stay frozen on top of the cozy comforter, gripping the laptop balancing against my thighs to keep it from sliding to the floor. My mind races: run to a doorway? Grab the kids? Where are my shoes? Seconds later it’s over. Earthquake.
“Hey!” I yell in the direction of my open bedroom door. “Did you guys feel that?”
No one answers. The house is quiet for a Sunday afternoon. Just half an hour before it’d been chaos: one kid sugared up from a birthday party, another wandering around the house singing with her ear buds in and the third one complaining about having to babysit in the evening. I’d snuck up to my bedroom in search of alone time, a treasure that eludes me more on weekends than any other days of the week. Now, alone in my room, the afternoon sun slanting through the window, I wonder, where did everyone go? Am I the only one who felt the earth cracking?
Or maybe it was me cracking.
These days are full of overwhelm. School is ending in a few weeks. My daughter’s bat mitzah is happening in a month. My three gorgeous girls drive me crazy and there are entire days when I just don’t want to do this motherhood gig anymore. I start wondering how I got here in the first place or if, when I delve into my purse for the car keys, I’ll actually find them the first time instead of a day old cheese stick or a forgotten permission slip or a little person’s sweater stained with chocolate milk. I wonder why everyone has cancer and when I’ll get it and every morning around 10 a.m., I wonder what’s for dinner and realize with absolute clarity that I. Don’t. Care. Eat cake. Eat pretzels. Fend for yourselves children, husband, dog.
I can’t tell if I’m on shaky ground or if it’s really me doing the shaking.
I loved my 8th grade Earth Science class. The idea that the earth is in perpetual states of upheaval and settling, molten in places and solid in others, thrilled me. Even as I walked across the same old concrete pathway to my next class, the earth shifted and slid miles beneath my feet. Mountains were in the works, deep ocean volcanoes readying to erupt. Rocks were being repurposed, some crushed to dust, others fused together, part of a greater ambition. New material spewed forth, ready to take shape.
Change happens. Sometimes it takes millennia, sometimes decades and sometimes only seconds. Now, in my 40s, as my girls cross their own growth lines, I’m thinking this is a good thing, this shaking and shifting. Scary, but good. I don’t need or want to get rid of it all – I do know I have a good life – but I am ready to make room for new ways and words to take form.
I wander downstairs and out the front door. My oldest child sits on the lawn in her jean shorts and tank top, weaving together a daisy chain. White, pink and magenta blooms lay scattered at her bare feet. The sun glints off her golden head. She could be a Renaissance angel.
She looks up and smiles, shielding her eyes with her hand. “Hey mom, did you feel that earthquake?”
You bet I did.
This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post, inspired by the prompt, “No one was around when it happened…” This week’s FTSF is hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee, me (this week’s sentence thinker-upper) here at Flingo and Jessica from Ramblings of an add mommy.