Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pattycake With A Bear

Originally posted November, 2001
Photo taken by kornrolla

“I know this is supposed to be a dream job but, this drama drives me crazy and I don’t know if I will ever fit in. It's just so inbred. AND I don’t get to see the kids because of the late hours." The Counting Mutant's shoes thudded against the back of the closet. Working at a ski resort had an unseen price.

I sat in a small stuffed chair wedged in a nook that held a narrow north facing window.  The outside chill seeped through the blinds and up my neck, it stung a little. It pained me to hear his dream drowning in a sea of monotony.

I studied his face, those creases between his eyebrows look like the Grand Canyon.

I followed Counting Mutant into the bathroom patiently listening. His mass filled the mirror as he brushed his teeth. I washed my face and ducked his elbows. I interrupted silence with a summary of my day: school for Ase and Zany was good. I made it to the gym with GirlyK.  Homework was a battle. The tedium was getting to me. I stopped talking when his eyes drooped from exhaustion. I lost him. The night’s window of conversation closed.

Counting Mutant opened the blinds on the western window to a full harvest moon and glittering stars. I turned off my light to welcome the pail liquid light. Escaping the cold, I nestled into bed. He rocked as he fell in and cuddled for warmth.
Photo taken by kamuelaboy

A growling, scratching, tumbling noise reverberated below the small northern window.

“What’s that?”

“I don’t know,” he groaned.  He listened more attentively.  “It’s something.”

“I know that!" I paused, "Maybe coyotes?”

“Hmm?  Probably raccoons.”  Then a snore.

I was curious, but the bed was perfect warmth.

The boys’ door opened down the hall. I bristled to hear where the pair of feet would go. With a relief, I thought; Just the bathroom. He doesn't need a cuddle or a tuck in to go back to bed. I rolled over and sank into sleep.

Morning came too soon. The day beckoned: boys off to school, baby girl to feed, kiss husband good bye. I stumbled down the hallway, Counting Mutant's face washed in shock as he stood at the boys’ doorway. My heart jumped and I rushed into the room. Ase, six, listened to Zany, five, as they stood next to their window. Blinds pulled tight to its top.

Zany, continued acting out the story “…And then the Mama looked at me!  Her cubs were playing right over there, rolling around.  She walked to me, stood up and put her paws on the window!  So I put my hands on her paws.” He put his hands on the window. Big blue eyes turned to Austin, “We played Pattycake! Then she put her nose on the window and I kissed it.” He pressed his lips to the window, and turned toward us. His hands fell with satisfaction. “And then she dropped to the ground and walked away. Her cubs followed her. Then I closed the blinds and crawled back to bed.”
Photo taken by ali110

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“My dream! I played Pattycake with a Mama bear and her cubs were playing right, over there.”  Zany was breathless.

I looked at a Counting Mutant. I took a deep breath and gently said, “Zany, I don’t think it was a dream. I think it was real!  Dad and I heard something outside last night when we went to bed. We heard you wake up and go to the bathroom.”  I looked at Counting Mutant, eyes pleading for support, “The noise was the cubs playing.”

Counting Mutant stood silent.  Zany was emphatic, “No Mom. It was a dream!”

I looked at my son. His magical imagination often got him into trouble but, this time was different. He needed to know that.

Squaring myself I encouraged, “Honey, I believe you. I know you are telling the truth!  I think you really did see a bear and her cubs. It wasn’t your imagination.  It was real.”

Counting Mutant's “Spock” eye brow met my gaze.

“Remember? The noises we heard last night? It was bears!” His silence continued. I marched to the back door, “Fine! Let’s look.”

He cautiously followed.

Along the side of the house, pine needles rested on powdered dirt. I scoured while he surveyed. Puffs of dirt covered our shoes.

“Could be…” Counting Mutant's succinct answer.

"I found a paw print." I cheered.
Photo taken by kakisky

He glanced at it. Moving on, the analytical review continued.   Probing the landscape, his face brightened. With a quickened step toward the Boys’ window he muttered, “She saw the trash can.”  Stepped closer for examination, “Filled with garden waste.  No food in the can. Undisturbed.”

With a satisfied nod, he strode to the back door. I scurried behind him.

“Zany,” Counting Mutant announced, walking through the door.  “Come here.”  They sat across from each other at the table.  Ase and I joined them wondering what the verdict would be.

A serious brow, looked into wonder-filled eyes, “Your dream could have been true.  The pine needles were disturbed.  There was a faint claw print in the dust.  It is fall; the Mama was looking for food to get ready for hibernating. She saw a trashcan by your room and became curious; she didn't smell any. When you opened your blinds, you surprised her.  She investigated through the window.  You did play Pat-a-Cake with a bear, Zany!”

Zany’s deep blue eyes sparkled with satisfaction. Self-doubt melted away.

A hope filled our hearts. Wonder happened in spite of monotony. With an awareness of magic, Counting Mutant and I faced the day looking for unlikely possibilities. 

A Mother Life

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