The other morning, I woke up to sunlight. As has been happening for days, my mind wakes me up at 6 am, on the dot, and starts thinking about the cookbook. Other fleeting bits of conversations or emails that need attending start shoving their way in. That first glimmer of light comes through the window and my hungry mind and tired body don’t want to talk. I swing my legs over the bed and start walking toward the light.
By the time Danny and Lucy had woken up, that clear kind light was blowing through our front door. We all stopped to look at it.
This shouldn’t be such a big deal. Sunlight. Except, if you know the Pacific Northwest in February, you know what a gift this is. For days before this, the rain had been insistent, falling down from that slate-grey sky in spitballs. It just wouldn’t stop. It felt like taunting, like a slap in the face (literally) to not see the sun in days. And days.
So the first clear morning feels like benediction. Or maybe it just feels good.
We had no other choice but to dance.
These days, we have a new morning ritual. We all stretch and do some yoga together, and then we pile onto the couch to read as many Dr. Seuss and Frog and Toad books as we can. Danny and I drink our coffee as Lu eats her yogurt and honey. We watch clips from Showboat or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or Ann Miller tap dancing. You see, Lu has gone crazy for MGM Musicals, and particularly the movie That’s Entertainment. She sees little clips of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney and loses her mind with excitement.
(I can’t tell you how excited I am to share all this with her. I don’t have to watch Thomas the Tank Engine right now! And I love those old movies.)
After a few clips, plus maybe a few more, we always end with Singing in the Rain. The three of us pick up sticks and pretend they are umbrellas while we dance around the living room in time with the number. Maybe Lu loves this song so much because of all the rain. Nah. It’s the genius of Gene Kelly and all that happiness.
Afterwards, we move to our bedroom, where Lu jumps and splays herself out on the bed, shouting “BIG SPLASH!” (I still think she might like Esther Williams best.)
The other morning, the light streamed through the windows like water bouncing up from the surface of a pool. I picked up the Polaroid camera and shot this.
I’m so glad I have this little moment on film.
Mornings are even more fleeting than normal around here right now. Especially the sunny ones.
Now that Danny’s in charge of the kitchen at the restaurant where he works, he leaves the house at 9:30. We miss him. Terribly. He used to leave the house at 2, after an entire morning with Lu at the playground or library, or the three of us cooking together. Now, he’s occupied, a little consumed. It’s unbelievable how much work goes into putting a plate of food in front of you at a restaurant.
Since all the recipes for our cookbook are due on Friday with the rest of the writing due on March 12th, and then scene Lu has been at preschool and daycare more often than normal. She’s loving it. And I love the time I have with her. But I miss her too.
After we finish dancing, and eat our breakfast together (the only meal all three of share right now), Lu asks for some time to cook. She runs to her little pink kitchen and starts stirring. “I’m making tortilla soup, Mama. With chipotles in adobo. Want some?” Or she tells us about a menu she’s planning: “We have cauliflower water, tomato sundaes, and a cherry on top!” One of us sits beside her to push a spatula in a skillet. The other makes things ready, gathering her clothes for school, packing her lunch.
Too early, the two of them are at the door. I kneel down on the floor and give Lu a big hug. She knows how to squeeze back now, hard. I tell her I love her. I kiss Danny and tell him I love him too. They walk toward the car together, Lu on her way to school, Danny on his way to work. Again.
Yesterday afternoon, I finished writing the last recipe for our cookbook.
Oh, there is much work left to do by Friday. And then there’s all that writing to polish. But right now, I am celebrating.
I can feel it.
Light coming back.