I am sitting in a darkened living room, watching the Rockies play the Red Sox. The boys are munching popcorn and drinking grape soda (purple…get it?), and stewing in anxiety over their beloved team. The Rockies are down, 4 to 1.
Max keeps calling my mom to inform her with much passion, “We STILL believe that they can win, Amma. We STILL believe.” When he’s not on the phone he flips summersault after summersault on the sofa. Tre is silent and intent on the game. He has inked a small square of paper with a deep purple GO, and taped it on his hat above the ROCKIES. Raphael is mostly enjoying his popcorn, and occasionally looking up to see how many words there are on screen that he can read. Or scramble to make new words.
“Look,” he calls out, “that says soon. If it was backwards, it would say noose. Except it would need an E.” His brothers glare at him, but he is unconcerned.
Arrgh. 6 to 1.
We do believe, though. We do.
Winter finally came to Denver this weekend. Clay and I were out of town, but unfortunately my pepper plants weren’t. We arrived home late Sunday night and on Monday I picked through the remnants of several inches of snow to find dozens of jalapeños and bell peppers lying limp and frozen on the ground. Tomatoes, basil, the last straggling cantaloupe – all snuffed out. Plants slumped against each other, their glossy bright rainbow of greens smudged a dull, defeated olive. I stood there, surveying the mess, but for once I couldn’t work up any angst about the end of the season. Who am I to complain? I was plucking fresh tomatoes for tomato soup as late as October. The season was a lovely, leisurely stroll through everything a garden could be. And even though we’re staring down the barrel of another winter, I know there’s spring right on the other side. I know it’s coming, with brand new tender leaves of neon green. This loss is not too big, because there is so much more to come.
Yikes. 10 to 1. This stings. Tre is explaining to me that the Rockies just had too many days off, and this game is nothing more than a warm-up for them. We choose to believe.
October is traditionally a tangled month for me, with anniversaries of the end of my first marriage, then a few years later my first date with Clay, followed the next year by his proposal.
October. Chock full o’ emotional goodness. And badness.
This year has an extra special dose, with the preparations for Clay adopting the boys in full swing. We have a court date, November 15, and it’s even possible that it all will be done that day. I cycle through the emotions that go with this daily. One minute I am thrilled, amazed, dazzled, by the fact that this is actually happening. After all the talking and planning and hoping, the pieces are falling into place with choreographed precision. Then I progress through the cycle, into anxiety for all the pieces still to be sorted. There is so much still that could go wrong. Would you like a list? I have carefully filled it out in my head during several 2 AM stress sessions. And then, unexpectedly, I find myself skewered by the reality that one half of this transaction is very, very sad.
And yet, underneath it all is the reality of our days. I close my eyes, and I can see Raphael, face split by a fierce grin, sprinting to leap into Clay’s arms. I see Max, leaning into Clay’s side to feel the warm strength of him, his face aglow with equal parts joy and relief. I see Tre, who struggles under the weight of a sudden adolescent need to be right all the time, and yet will follow Clay around with boyish glee as they work on a project together. And I see Clay, who loves us all back with such grace and ease, so completely, that it would seem that he was born to this – to step into this family and wrap his arms around us all.
13 to 1. This is brutal. Still, it is better for our team to be here, in the World Series, than home, watching the Diamondbacks play. “It’s not over,” Tre growls at me from his chair. I have to agree.
After all, I find, the antidote to fear is not more security.
It is hope.