We’re, well most of us, off the floor.
We had been camping out in one bedroom, mattresses on the floor, clothes and books and art supplies strewn about the place just like a college dorm, minus the beer bottles, for far too long.
For some reason, we, okay, I, couldn't get any further than this. My bedroom became our buffer zone. United we lie down. All together in one room was the only way we could manage being back in our house without Ian.
I've also had this crazy idea I was going to give all the walls a fresh coat of paint. There is only so much soap and water can do to wash away the remnants of beer and boogers and resinous slime left behind by the
When we first moved back in here, I remember earnestly telling my neighbor, Maria, how I was going to paint, one room at a time, at night, after the girls were asleep. If this were a sitcom, the laugh track would cue up here.
Most nights, I wake up around ten, fully dressed, next to Isla in her bed after having fallen asleep with her. Wasted with exhaustion, I stagger into the bathroom to brush my teeth and think briefly about trimming out the living room walls, while I peel off my mom suit and crash back into the bed, my womb.
“Just do it, later,” has become my catchphrase.
Esther and Isla were ready to broaden their horizons sooner than I was. Even Isla, my personal limpet, started to beg me to set up her bedroom.
“Please, Mommy,” she repeatedly whined, "I want to sleep in my own room in my own bed."
"I know you do, Isla," I answered wearily. "I'm working on it."
“Is today the day you are going to make me a cozy bed and put my clothes in the drawers in my room?”
“I think today could very possibly be the day,” I would say, with the conviction of a woman turning down an epidural.
But, day after day, I didn’t get it done.
Until one day, I finally felt a glimmer of inspiration, like a flash of heat lightning, did I see that?, to set up the beds in the girls’ bedroom. I had painted the shelves that go at the head of the bed on another inspired day way back when.
I dug out the metal bed frames from the attic and was momentarily flummoxed by the fact that the screws don’t line up with the headboard.
I chose to overlook that minor frustration the other night and, right at bedtime, late again, we are late to bed every night, I decided, once and for all, after so many hot, restless, sticky, “Isla you have got to push over, it’s too damn hot” nights, it was time, beyond time, to reestablish boundaries, reclaim our territory, fill out our private spaces and give ourselves a little breathing room, already.
Sheesh. I am a human glacier.
I slapped up those beds and made them--minus the bed skirts, who knows there they ran off to-- while the girls, contagiously excited, got busy collecting things, random things to personalize their corners with.
Isla had spent that morning carefully hanging up her clothes in the closet that has no door. Esther has pretty much decided she is not ready, after all, to brave her new big-girl-room- in- waiting in the attic. One day.
When I, finally, tucked them in, read a quick book and kissed them goodnight, Isla said, "Mommy I don’t want you to sleep with me tonight."
That's great, Isla," I said, "because I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. Tonight is officially everyone in their own beds night."
Then Isla said, "I don’t want you to sleep with me ever again. "
"Okay," I kissed her again, laughing, "you are a silly girl."
The next morning I woke up, on my mattress on the floor-- I'm still missing parts to my bed frame-- to the sound of gentle purring. I turned my head over on the pillow and came face to face with the dark tunnels of Isla’s nostrils. Her shiny moon face just centimeters away from my own. Her head on my pillow, acres of empty bed behind her.