My heart does flips when I behold
The peas and carrots fly:
So was it when I first began;
So is it with each little man;
Shall it be so ’til I grow old?
I heave a sigh!
The Child is father of the Man;
But now, I find my days to be
Filled to the brim with piles of stained laun-der-y.
* * *
Forgive me Mr. Wordsworth, wherever you are. While chatting with my brother on the phone this weekend, I paused to bellow gently at the children: “Stop eating like The Cookie Monster! I am tired of cleaning up the mess!” My brother laughed wickedly; but I forgive him because he has small children too and suffers similar things.
Early last week, Michael, knowing that I’d been feeling down, brought home a little pot with flowers for me, which was lovely. For fully a week I walked past them, thinking thoughts of Wordsworth wandering lonely as a cloud, and about Keats, and poetry generally. Then today it hit me that they are not daffodils at all, but tulips; and my brain had been innocent of this realization, in spite of the evidence, for a whole week. I was reminded of a joke Michael told me when we were first dating: What’s the difference between a liberal arts major and a large pizza? Answer: A large pizza can feed a family. Well. . .well all I can say is, the kids had all been fed by 8:45 this morning. So there.
CORRECTION: Yikes, I made a mistake. Michael says he told me that joke comparing musicians to a large pizza (he is one himself – a musician, that is.) I must have conflated his telling it with someone else telling the same joke about liberal arts majors. He said, “[B]y the time I met you, I was long past the juvenile phase of scorning liberal arts majors, and as a kind of penance I don’t even joke about them now.” Score for the liberal arts!