“These are the days that must happen to you” – Walt Whitman

Listen! I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is call’d riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve,
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin’d, you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction before you are call’d by an irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who remain behind you,
What beckonings of love you receive you shall only answer with passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach’d hands toward you.
– From “Song of the Open Road”
Yesterday was a rare beauty. Seventy-plus degree weather in late October in Cleveland. I’m all but completely decided that I’m going to attempt this year’s Turkey Trot, which is not a long run by most people’s measure, but, if I am able to run it all (which I am not sure I can do), would be the longest I have ever run, in my life, ever, ever, ever. And on what’s likely to be a freezing cold morning, likely snowy, possibly also icy. I like a challenge, but somehow, I think I must also be crazy to be thinking about this. But I am thinking about it. Seriously.
I really, really wanted to go for a run at lunch yesterday. When I have D, getting in any running at night is just not an option. He’s not that into it, especially after a long day at school, and I can’t afford to pay for a sitter to come just so I can go somewhere and run. And it gets dark so early now, it’s just impractical to plan to run on those days. Plus there is dinner to be made, and homework to help with, and the rest of that stupid minions movie D wanted to watch. It seemed for a while a pop-up lunch meeting was going to happen at work, but then they said after lunch, so I laced up and busted out for a real urban run. I ran through downtown, up this street and down that one depending on how the lights changed. I decided to try something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile and tackled running over the entire Detroit-Superior bridge (aka Veterans’ Memorial bridge). It was not easy, but it was a thing and I did it, and it could have been much worse, what with it being sunny and a little windy and not too hot. I ended up doing 4.3 miles, which is pretty dang far for me, especially at lunch. It took me more than two hours to completely quit sweating at work afterwards, ha. Good thing I work alone in a corner. I scarfed down my cabbage and chicken as soon as I got back and had a productive afternoon, pushing on through until I could pick up my silly little D, who also had a very good day at school, with no “sad points” on the teacher’s behavior app. A surprise, considering the early nosebleed and middle-of-the-night waking the night before.
D and I had a full and busy night. He wanted to show me all his school work immediately, and it is a LOT of work now, very impressive. Then I said I had to get dinner started. We were sort of having pork tacos but without the shells as I didn’t have any. I put a lot of spice rub on the cheap pork chops I bought – cumin, garlic, thyme, some lime juice, and started some rice. Heated up some of the leftover black beans, and stirred in some salsa. Got out the rest of the tortilla chips, which are almost stale, and shredded some cheese and sliced the avocado which was READY RIGHT NOW, squeezing some lime over it and sprinkling with salt. The boy and I sat down and blew through that food like it was a race, we were both so hungry and everything tasted really good, or maybe that was just because we were hungry. Throughout cooking din, I ran back and forth to the living room and kitchen, helping D with a little instruction for the next homework assignment. They only “have” to do one a day, with four a week and all being due Friday morning. But I’ve tried to begin explaining to him the concept of getting as much done at a time as you can, so that you can choose to do other things other nights that you don’t have homework. He has done two at once before, one time he did three. Last night, he did all four assignments, bang, bang, bang. Cutting, glueing, copying letters – his handwriting is still so, so bad but I know if he keeps with it, he will get it. Then I cleaned the kitchen while he cleaned up the mess the homework made, and I put on the movie for him. I had to fold and put away a couple loads of laundry which had been hang-drying since the day before, and by then, it was bedtime.
He misses his Dad, he says, pretty frequently. And misses me when he is with Dad. As is to be expected. Frankly, I’m surprised he is eating, sleeping and behaving as well as he is. I think perhaps because his Dad and I are both focused on making those elements as high-quality as they can be, offering as much love as we can, and calling the other and occasionally seeing the other when warranted, like this past Sunday’s leaf-catching thing, is the reason why things are going relatively well for D still. Relatively I say, as this morning I was putting on my makeup and found him pouting on the couch, on the verge of tears. Poor thing. These are the days that must happen, to me and to him, and I can only hope that the song of the open road we are both singing will lead us to an eventual happier path.
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