When I lie down in bed at night, the room warm and the hour late, my mind starts flashing images of the day behind me. Desmond’s smile wide open, like a child’s drawing of the happiest face. Lu’s feet gripping onto the skateboard we gave her last week for her birthday, the pink knee pads hovering above them. The greens in the garden bolting bright with the heat and sunlight. (Anyone need some kale? We have plenty.) The sound of the ocean rushing continually out of the baby monitor as Desmond sleeps upstairs in his crib. He’s a sleeper, this kid. Oh heavens yes, he’s a sleeper. Lucy on my lap, a stack of books besides us, waiting to be read. Dishes in the sink that will have to wait until the cool evening air comes through the windows. Dinner on the back deck, plates set on top of the yellow chalk drawings and hopscotch squares. The quiet click of Lucy’s bedroom door shutting behind us when we finally realize she is asleep for the evening. (Remember that feeling of being a child in summer, perplexed at why you have to go to bed in broad daylight?) The relief of a hard day’s work finally done — no work or computers after 9 pm here — Danny and I together on the couch, talking through the day. And then we watch another episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
(Can we talk about this show? We are obsessed. We don’t watch television, normally, but now, every night, we’re perched on the edge of the couch, watching. On Danny’s birthday card the other day, I wrote to him, “Shanté, you stay.” My dear friend Sharon, my best friend for 31 years, stayed with us this week. We started her on this brilliant parody of a reality show that is also a reality show and somehow manages to normalize drag queen life while also being relentlessly flamboyant and hilarious at the same time. She was hooked too. Every evening she visited, as soon as we knew both kids were asleep, we called my brother, who lives on the island, and he came over with his wife and pre-teen son to watch another episode. It may seem like an odd family bonding, but no one ever claimed to be normal over here. And honey, those drag queens are fierce. When I remember this time, I’m sure to think of it as the summer of Ru Paul.)
When Lucy is at camp or on play dates, the days are packed full of work for projects I can’t tell you about yet. At our studio, we’re hatching plans and writing emails and tackling to-do lists. Meanwhile, Danny stands at the stove, flipping onions in a skillet, then adding greens and bacon, goat cheese and lentils, and a couple of fried eggs on top. We may be broke after the adoption process but we’re still eating well. And that little guy kicks his legs and giggles on the table beside me and I stop thinking about money.
When Lu is at home, the living is slow. Mostly, there are popsicles. And board games. Jumping on the trampoline. Long walks before dinner. Chores in the morning. Lots of lying on the floor with a book open before her. And an entire troop of imaginary friends who make their way into our days. That’s sort of the feeling right now: everything fantastic, beyond our wildest dreams, and yet mundane.
I like the mundane days best.