Tonight putting Diego to bed is a chore with mixed blessings, or, rather, a blessing and a curse. It takes especially forever, tonight when one is tired and waiting patiently -- oh. so. patiently. -- for the end of the day to come, for a time when it's possible to be alone, or pseudo-alone. One has been waiting; that is, I have been waiting to sit down and listen to my mind for a few extended minutes, to be able to think my own thoughts for a while instead ofanother's, specifically a two year old and ten month old's thoughts.
At these kinds of moments, I imagine that life is a boat, put out to sea, and I am sitting in that boat. And I have a choice to jump boat or to sail on. And so I sail on.
Finally, I get Diego to settle down, to stop saying "Hi!" to everything: the cat, the trees outside, the ceiling. Finally, I am able to nurse him into quietude, to help him drop down into alpha state, to coax him toward sleep. I sing him his favorite song, over and over:
Row, Row, Row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
I sing it to him over and over, as he stares at the shutters, blinking in the last light of the day. He stares, mewls, chuckles and swoons, smiling, toward dreaming.
I sing the song so many times, it takes on that sonorousness of a lesson. I see my father's life, so short. I realize that for the rest of my life, his life and my life with him will be a dream. Whether it be a shared dream, I know not. But I like to believe it will be.
I sing it so many times I start to cry. Life is but a dream. Is it possible to live merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, rowing our boats down the stream, toward the sea?