Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ahh, the Sweet Sound of...Newspaper

One of my fondest memories from the early days of my marriage is Sunday mornings. My husband and I would make a pot of coffee and settle in to read the Sunday paper. With no distraction save a cat kneading our laps to make a bed, we could enjoy a leisurely hour or two reading and talking, debating and commisserating.

Then we had kids. Sunday mornings were no longer leisurely. Then we divorced, and Sunday mornings pretty much ceased to exist except in terms of time. Until noon on Sunday, it was Sunday morning. And I was the only adult on the scene, so sipping hot coffee and reading quickly became a thing of the past. Which was probably all for the best, because I could no longer afford a subscription to the Sunday paper. My ex took the car and closed our joint checking account; my thoughts were always focused on how to get by. Reading book reviews and the op-ed section was but a fond and (seemingly) distant memory.

Then Tavi came along and Wes joined the scene. So there was that addition of an adult, but still...we had 3 kids, ages 5, 2, and brand new. Not much changed in the way of leisure time. Add Bella to the mix and, well, you see where this is going.

This Sunday morning I was the first to awaken, which is unusual in itself. The girls are early risers and usually are up at the butt crack of dawn. They amuse themselves with books, puzzles, drawing...any quiet activity that won't result in a trip to the emergency room. But on this particular Sunday, I got up, let the dog out, made coffee, and sat down with a book. Soon Wes came downstairs, followed quickly by the girls. The boys were spending the weekend at their dad's, and they rarely get up before 10 a.m. unless I make them anyway.

But there we all sat in the family room, talking in the hushed tones people tend to use when the day is just getting started and eyes are still filled with what we in this household refer to as "eye boogers." Wes retrieved the newspaper from the porch, and we each claimed our favorite sections.

And there we sat, the silence broken only by an occasional giggle from Tavi, who had one section of comics, or from Bella, asking what a particular word was (also in the comics). At six, she has just started reading independently, and I don't know who's more excited about this milestone, she or I.

And as we sat together on that Sunday morning, I listened to the sound of turning newspaper pages and realized time had given back my beloved ritual. The husband is now an ex, and the cats have been replaced by a dog. I'm about 14 years older than I was last time I enjoyed the paper, but hey! Time is just time, right? I've lamented the loss of reading the Sunday paper many, many times over the years. Sometimes I even felt resentment that I wasn't allowed to enjoy this mundane but cherished activity.

But on this Sunday morning, there was no resentment or longing, only gratitude. And it's a gratitude made all the more intense for having lost the opportunity for all those years while my kids needed immediate and constant attention. Now they sit with me and read. And that reading leads to questions and an increased curiosity of the world around them. They drink tea and hot cider while I languish over my coffee. It is, for me, my own personal Norman Rockwell scene. Sure, it will end as soon as something else grabs their attention.

But for that brief moment in time, all is right with the world on a Sunday morning.

1 comment:

Judith K. Witherow said...

I have found that since the three sons are grown my partner and I can read the Sunday paper in silence. Or, discuss what each has just found interesting even though the other will read it again herself.
We now clip the stories we think the "boys" will enjoy thoroughly, but they have younger ones, and their Sunday mornings are too hectic.
It's all a circle that never ends.