Mia and Lauren are in the back seat. I'm driving with the air conditioner on full-blast to combat the searing sliver of sunshine that slants onto my lap, and I'm still sweating. I'm grumpy. And I know you already know this if you've been reading my blog for any length of time this summer, but I'm just not handling this excessive heat well.
I try to joke about it, but the truth is that when every day this week is forecast to be above 105? I die a little. (See? Still with the jokes.) It's absolutely sapping me. I can think of nothing to do that doesn't involve misery, at least in small bursts.
So enters the boredom. The grouchies. The endless days of same-old, same-old.
Buckled into their seats on our way to Target, the girls are deep in discussion.
Mia hems and haws over what her favorite color actually is. Yesterday it was green. Last week it was turquoise. Last month it was blue. She's busy wondering if she can have a favorite group of colors since the whole 'pick one' thing isn't working out for her. "Lauren, I really like blue, green, and yellow now. Those are definitely my favorites." (Last week, she said the same thing of blue, silver, and white.)
Lauren isn't so scattered. Her true favorite is simple and timeless: pink. "That's fine if you want lots, Mia. I just like pink for my favorite. Pink bubblegum, pink kitties, pink flowers. Pink is the beautifullest. Is that fine if I just love pink, Mia?"
Her choice is graciously affirmed. "Yeah, that's fine. But...Ugh! Why can't I just pick one favorite!" She throws her hands in the air to emphasise her irritation. "Alright, alright: I'm not picking one color. I just love them all. They're all my favorites."
They continue to chatter, distracting me from the wilted day. My wilted mood. I'm cheered up for seconds at a time. Only a drop in the pond, but still...drips leave tiny wakes and spread to the shore eventually, right? I cling to the simplicity of their words. And of their conversation.
They don't mind the endless days of heat. They don't care if the car's interior steals their breath upon entrance. There are other things to think about.
So I let my mind wander. What color do I love best?
I love the orange plaids on Mia's sundress that make her blue eyes burst into brilliance. I love the white ruffle on Lauren's shirt that compliments her pink-flushed cheeks after a bit of outdoor play. I love the blue of the pool-water's mellow waves. I love the green of the resilient, old sycamore tree's leaves and their pale barked trunks. I love the faint, shimmery purple of the marks that are beginning to decorate my belly. I love the golden glow of my daughters' hair -- shadeless and indescribable. I love the color of laughter -- bright and bouncy and lasting. I love the rainbow that dances on the sprinkler's spray as I set it under our baby tree in the backyard....
Like a rubber-band snapping back into place, the glare of noontime sun off the car in front of me snaps me back from joyful contemplation. I shift in my seat to avoid the blinding flash. I switch lanes to pass the offender.
The clarity lasted but a moment. If I can pause long enough throughout the day, I can maybe recapture its brilliance?
It will come again to me, in short bursts, and for today, that will have to be enough. Sometimes the beauty in the mundane is vaporous and elusive; to forget that is to forget that the beauty itself is stunning and precious.
Some days, all we can do is wait it out. And that's okay. It will come around again.