Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I woke to the white light of perfect winter. The house was quiet. Now it is snowing from a gray and blue sky, tiny flakes that fall lazily and will amount to nothing.
I can't sleep at night because I am buzzing with excitement to go to Paris. I'm like a child on Christmas Eve, but the trip is still more than a month away, and this kind of heightened state can't last long, it must collapse eventually into something, or it will ruin me. I whiled away the entire day yesterday plotting routes from the apartment I've rented on airbnb to all the restaurants I want to go to, realizing I don't have the time or the budget to eat EVERYTHING in Paris, though god help me, I will do my best. I will stop talking about it now, because the only bad thing about going to Paris is that people kind of hate you when you tell them about it.
It really is doing the most magical thing outside my window right now, with the sunlight turning to orange and the snow flakes falling so slowly they are almost still in the air, fixed like stars.
Noah was out of town over the weekend. I went to work, and then the girls and I went and hocked Girl Scout Cookies at the brewery. We came home exhausted and late and the girls went to play with their Kindles in their rooms, as they are allowed to do at bedtime on the weekends. It was around ten when Ayla came out of her room crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said her movie was sad. "What are you watching?"
"The Gabby Douglas Story."
I asked her what was sad about it. She told me how Gabby Douglas had had to leave her mother to go train with Coach Chow and how the family didn't have much money, I think--I don't really know, I just know that Ayla was overwhelmed. I wanted to laugh and cry a little bit with her. I asked her if she had finished the movie. She hadn't.
She did this once before with a Thora Birch movie in which, at the end, the girl very nearly loses her pet monkey before the monkey escapes from the bad guys and goes running through a park in L.A. to be reunited with the girl. Ayla turned it off at the part where Thora was crying and the monkey was distressed. It is too much for children, to see animals in distress. With Gabby Douglas, just as with the Thora Birch, I put the movie back on and we watched the end. Alicia Keys sang as a montage of Gabby winning competition after competition played on the screen, sort of hurrying the climax along if you ask me. I had to explain to Ayla at the credits that Gabby had won not only a team medal at the Olympics, but the gold medal for best overall. I wanted Ayla to be giddy with relief over this happy ending, and she was soothed, but I sensed that my cheery "see how everything worked out in the end!" attempts were falling on something deeper and softer within. Either way, I kissed her and put her to bed, and she drifted off, cheeks dry but a million miles away, that girl, buttoned away inside, just like her mother, unknowable to me even though our cells still live inside one another.
It's still snowing so prettily, but nothing will come of it.