Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I rarely have an uninterrupted conversation. At work, we’re all busy going in different directions, it’s rare to find five minutes to talk about something specific. We had instituted a “ten minute standing meeting” in the morning for basic, basic checkins, but we’ve even given those up.
Nathan and I chat on Google Talk during the day for logistical issues. How did drop off go? Would this time work for a teacher conference? Did you see the message from your mom? Our long, winding conversations from our first years have given way to busy work days.
Most of my communication with friends and family comes in the form of Facebook updates or brief emails. Though these are short, they help me feel connected to a world beyond my work and my boys. My teos, my oldest friends, I used to spend hours and hours talking about every last little thing. I’d talk something over with Jean, then Heather, then Sven, and then I write about it, then I might write a letter to Jean about it, highlighting things Heather and Sven had said. Now I know if Jean’s had coffee, whether her kids are napping. I know when Heather reads an article she likes, and I know when Sven is going to juggle, several states away. It’s not the same, but I’m grateful for it.
If I’m home with Nathan and the boys, we’re usually always talking over one another. It’s difficult to have a cohesive conversation with a three year old under ideal conditions, but with four of us in the same room, it’s a mish mash of words. Every substantive topic is interspersed with reminders to sit in a chair, to use nice words, to talk without chewie in your mouth, or requests for repeats. Noah’s just on the verge of conversation. He’s fluent in finger pointing, gestures, squeals and grunts. He knows a few signs, “more” and “all done” and the all-important head shake “no.” I’m trying to teach him the sign for milk. He can say “mama” but it sounds a lot like what I think his word for “food” is (mum-mum) so it’s hard sometimes to interpret his meaning. His attempts to articulate himself are another frequent interruption. If he tries to tell us something, I’ll try to work out what it is, sometimes regardless of what else may be happening.
For one hour a day, though, there is time and space and generally, inclination, to talk. Our walk. We haven’t missed a day since 2007, except the days I was in the hospital giving birth. Nathan and I get exercise, and the boys share the Double Bob. The stroller is their cue that the day is winding down, and they are usually calm and happy. This is when Miles will tell us things about his day. He will sing us some songs. This is when I’ll find out what Nathan had for lunch. I might call my mom or my dad to check in. Noah will point at things, or mumble happily about whatever he’s found on his snack tray. We’ll notice new things in the neighborhood. We’ll even have time to talk to the cats, the birds, or any interesting work trucks parked on the street.
Many nights we don’t sit down to the dinner table at the same time, if we eat at the table at all. Instead, we have our walks as our family time. I don’t know yet how we’ll negotiate our walks as the boys outgrow the stroller, but we’ll figure it out. All too soon, I’m sure, our house will be full of space for conversation again, and I know I’ll miss the interruptions.