My latest creative venture (Viktig Mag) has taken up a lot of my brain space these last few months, but I have been writing. I have been consistently putting out words, every Monday a blog post and the other six days a week I slap up a social media posting. This is the most I have written consecutively (other than my private musings in a journal by my bedside) EVER. It is however work, I have a partner and therefore it is not exclusively my own. I want to challenge myself to keep the words flowing, so in comes #the100dayproject.
2009-2010 I kept a photo journal for Ben while he was in Afghanistan, every day I posted a picture of Julia. Usually just the photo and the date. When Wilbur was born, I documented the four children every Friday for six months. Then Beckett and Clementine died, I really backed away from my camera because their absence was painfully noticeable through my lens.
This project is committing me to starting up again. I want to remember the little days because I only have 26 weekends until Julia is nine years old. Time runs past me and I want to capture the slices of life that are the sweetest.
We (read as I) decided family game night would be set on Tuesday nights. We’ve tried to have a weekly game night since we stayed in Vermont for the first anniversary of Minnie’s death. Now that Ben is finally off every night (thank you Jesus for jobs with bankers’ hours) we can do this thing.
Wilbur is too young, he’s wild and always yelling and sticky (coconut ice cream popsicles). He sits at the table, but we (again read as I) holler at him to sit on his buns and not touch anything. Tonight he pointed out pictures on the Spot It cards, trying to hoard the stack of round red cards in his little fat hands. He lined up the Jenga blocks in a straight flat line, asking us over and over to “build a castle mommy.”
Jules loves game night, she screams out nonsense words and guffaws at every turn during Spot It. I fucked it up tonight though.
We started to play and i’m too competitive, I need people to follow the rules, stick inside the lines. I don’t like crazy silliness which is unavoidable with Ben and Jules. We switched games halfway through because we were all a little tense. Let’s try to remove blocks from a wooden tower, gosh that will be fun right? Here come the splinters…
Ben and I forgot we needed to put blocks back on top of the stack (yes we are that lame) and so we started over. But Jules didn’t listen or hear us (or whatever) and so we faced off in again in the never-ending battle of “why don’t you listen?”. Really it’s becoming it’s own sort of game at this point, in the larger war of child vs. parent.
I stopped. Inhaled. Turned my phone off and shoved it into the white ceramic colander on the top shelf of our kitchen island. I turned squarely to face Jules, I wanted to focus in on her and not just my idea of who she should be. Her hair is just slightly frizzy from the wet weather. It’s long now, past her shoulders and thick just like her dad’s (and my dad’s). She likes to do her own hair now, she pulls it back in a low pony tail and slicks back her fly-aways with the Under Armour headbands she got for Christmas.
Her front teeth are finally growing in, but she still gets a ring of chocolate around her mouth after eating dessert. She’s tall, but still so tiny. She giggles when people kiss on t.v., and needs the glow of her nightlight. The other day as we drove to Target, she asked if Da (my dad) takes Beckett and Clementine fishing in heaven.
She has terrible tunnel vision sometimes, but all at the same time she can see farther and wider than I will ever be able to. She can see me, and everything I do, so now as I watch her grow I must watch myself. I cannot screw this up, so I take a deep breath and remind myself she is only eight years old for another 26 family game nights. I’ll let her win the next round.