Journal entry from November 14, last year

The day is somewhat dreary and the kids play and bicker and play and bicker. We went to the mall, resigned to not find anything at Sears, and to need snacks and wipes. But I found a swim shirt and swim shorts for Marie-Hélène whom I failed last week when I was responsible for bringing her to her lesson, and lost her shorts. So it is.

I followed the boys around the store, letting them follow their own meandering curiosity. I found a laundry basket for them, the old one being too small and un-aerated. The label for the basket read something about a good place for “close” and since it was made in China I started to think that the writing was dictated over the phone. So funny, I would say, take a picture, post it online, and make someone else smile over the miscommunication. But it’s trifling. The store is closing. Corners are being gathered up signs moved about, shelves coming down. I wonder if they still make a profit with their sales.

I tell Cedric that the store is closing and he says, "Alright, let’s go!" and I laugh and try to explain the pun… It’s closing in the larger sense, the giant no-more-Sears sense. But I’m not sure he understands. William and I continue to follow him around. I pause to pick up stationary. Might as well. We always need sticky notes. There are never enough. Or so I reason.

At the checkout the boys mill about and I’m worried about what they can get in to while I’m trying to concentrate on the transaction and so I sit them on the counter. An older couple passing by asks if they are for sale. I price them at 10 thousand each and then over dishes in the afternoon consider the price I set and the answer she gave… "Way more than that!" So that yes, I am caught in this funny conundrum… The kids have no price, because they are small, loved, and full of potential, and precious to me, their only mother. But there was no IVF, no adoption. They cost nothing to make. Anyone can make a child, even if the individual’s existence has been calculated as a very rare chance when every strange odd is factored in. And then there is that aspect of ownership… What priceless means is that money assigns a value on something that is neither an investment, a payment, or a property. They are immaterial beings wrapped up in skin and clothes like me, like their father, like anyone. 

What funny things our children do to us... They make us stretch and grow and turn us into parents. But they aren't really ours either... They're lent us and we foster them awhile and give them tools we think are important for life (or wish we had had) and they go on and find their way and move along time a little further than we'll get.