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Earth Below My Feet

TODAY WAS BEAUTIFUL. Beautiful. I spent most of it with my dad, deep in nature. We took a meandering motorcycle ride through the backroads of Jordan Lake (little land bridges: water still and reflective on both sides), and stopped to walk and drink in Chapel Hill. I’d never been on Franklin Street before. It’s gorgeous. Like, the perfect backdrop to the perfect weather. The trees are still holding their leaves and color, the sun was out, the air had that hint of woodsmoke. The campus was ancient and drowsy. Light filtering across the sidewalk. Building after building of solid bricks, clean columns. Students ambling along the paths, families spilling out of the chapel. My dad and I listened to other parents with their children (one, tugging her son’s hand as they walked by: … well, that’s why I make the decisions here.)

There was more riding and more wind in my face, more speed, more forests and concrete. A break for lunch. Then we hiked Umstead Park with Michelle and Millie, and those woods go on forever. Almost three miles we clambered along. Up hills, down hills. Hopping along the exposed tree roots like step stones. When we get lost and my dad’s joints start to hurt (understandably, it’s three miles and he’s carrying a toddler on his back), Michelle starts asking about bad family vacations and good ones. We all share our memories. Laugh. A lot. I was such a brat; I ruined half the vacations with my attitude. It’s kind of funny now. Kind of.

Come home sore, hot, and smelling the same way little kids do after they’ve been relegated to the back yard for an afternoon.

Shower. Coddle Elias, who’s been sick all day. He has a head cold, I think. Stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, mild fever. We give him some medicine to ease the suffering. He lays down, watches Netflix for a little while from his top bunk. On my fifth how-are-you-feeling-check-in, he whispers that his pillow isn’t very comfortable. I offer to get him the Boppy. I don’t even know why we have that thing; we haven’t had a use for it in six years. But we do, and it’s clean, and I know where it is. I bring it to him: It sort of hugs you, I tell him, easing it around his shoulders. Like a mommy. It’s cozy.

He likes the Boppy, but when I do my sixth check-in, he sheepishly asks if he can ACTUALLY cuddle with me, because a real mom is better when you’re sick.

Bring him to my room, because my television gets ‘House Hunters’. Heh. Smooth his hair until he falls asleep. Drift off, too. When I wake up a half hour later, I touch Eli’s forehead (still warm) and go to check on Addie. She’d been amusing herself all day while I was with Eli and Dad, and had even tucked herself in so she didn’t bother me. Aw. These kids. Seriously. I sit next to her on the bed, and we have a talk about how special and kind and considerate she was, and how I’d make it up to her tomorrow, PROMISE: We’ll get your finished project from Paint your Pot, and how about caramel apples from the chocolate store? Her eyes can be so blue. Yes! she bubbles. I can’t wait!

So. That’s about it. Exhausted, super exhausted, and ready to wrap this up. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ is waiting for me on the DVR, and my husband is waiting for me in bed. No better way to end the weekend.