superbowl (of ramen) saturday

Today was a Saturday not unlike other Saturdays since we’ve become a family of four.

But for some reason, today, I kept thinking, “This is my life.

Not when it gets easier or when I get thinner or when it gets warmer or when our home gets bigger.

When I am 62, I will look back at these moments with heartfelt longing. When I touch my grown sons’ stubbled cheeks, my mind will replay these mental pictures.”

Moments like:

Leaving the house at 9 am for Micah’s small soccer class. Packing double diapers, double stroller, double emergency outfits. Watching him grin bashfully as he learns his “squish-squash” toe-stop toddler soccer drills. His European coaches cheering “GOAL!” in encouragement.

Rushing to get both kids in the car as temperatures continue to drop (now ending with snow on the ground as I write this). “I got Micah, you get baby.” “Did you pack his juice?” “You sure you didn’t leave your wallet/phone/purse at soccer?”

Watching Micah play with his little church friends as we adults gather in our friends’ basement to discuss what Shalom in the City means. Amazed that he can now separate and stay with a babysitter. He started attending this Family Small Group when he was only a few months old and now here he is, in his huge soccer jersey, playing with puzzles and strumming a toy guitar, with a little brother in tow.

Driving from Long Island to Astoria to make it to a one year old’s birthday party. Just as we had planned, Micah konks out as soon as we belt him into his carseat. Nap, check. Relieved he won’t be dazed and looney at the party. We crack up as we see a European man in his black Escalade driving next to us with his stubble and sportcoat, eating an instant bowl of Shin Ramen! I do a double-take to make sure he really is eating ramen out of the styrofoam ramen bowl, not recycling and reusing it to fill with chips or peanuts. He has chopsticks in them so he is actually eating this as he drives! Amazing. Ballsy. Quirky.

Escalade Ramen Man inspires our lunch. We happen to drive by a Japanese ramen house once we get to Astoria so I run in to get our ramens to go, though Taco Bell or Subway would’ve been easier to eat. To Go means eating it in our car as Micah continues to sleep and passersby peer into our car, windows steaming from the marriage of hot broth and cold outside air. We have to assemble the contents of the hot ramen very delicately and cautiously in the front console, setting different bowls of food on the dashboard. We tagteam eat as Ellis has woken up and is seated in Daddy’s lap, just taking in his surroundings and grooving to Eminem’s new song (or what we think is his new song). While it took some juggling and it wasn’t as convenient as dining in at the restaurant, we are content, our bellies warm and nourished.

We get to the birthday party exactly on time, but Micah is still snoozing away so we leave him be. We find out there are two flights of stairs at the party so Daddy helps escort Ellis (in his heavy infant carseat) and me as our friend who we ran into while parking, stays with sleeping Micah.

Micah joins the party and explores the venue with his neighborhood friends. Friends he met when he was Ellis’ age. They are now climbing, jumping, calling each other by name, getting their pictures taken by at least three iPhones at once. All of us have second kids now.

The night gets colder. Snow is falling. Micah does his pre-bath routine of running around nekked then sprinting into my arms for a final bearhug before heading to the bathtub with Daddy. Ellis has developed a strange quirk in the past month, of nursing only while lying down, and only in the bedroom. Can’t bear to make him get hungry enough to break the habit. Today he takes lots of breaks even while lying down, blowing bubbles and making fart noises with his little lips, which he seems to have discovered anew. We put Micah to bed together, noting that his posse of stuffed animals needs to get capped off at six.

What a full, blessed day. No big milestones and not unlike others but sometimes the best days are when I can clearly see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

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