A poached egg teeters on the edge of two states: on the one hand, it's controlled and encapsulated, pregnant, and barely contained. On the other, once it's pricked, it rushes forth so fast, and with such abandon, that any effort to stop its flow is utterly useless. To me at least, it perfectly symbolizes how quickly life can change from one state to another.
I remember when my kids were much younger, back when the days were long, how I was never, ever alone. Someone always needed feeding, or changing, tears needed to be wiped, fusses required shushing. I would watch the clock, waiting for that magical moment when night would finally ease in, and Colin would cross through the door.
In those days, I used to relish the odd opportunity to drive somewhere, anywhere, in my car, when I was alone. That solitude, so infrequent, had an electrifying effect: I felt free, and powerful; like myself, but with the volume cranked up. Even a short drive -- to fetch eggs, or band-aids -- could make me giddy, and I'm quite sure if anyone saw me driving at those moments, my smile broad and half-crazy, the radio blaring, they'd assumed I'd just won an award, or something equally momentous.
In the past few years, though, there's been a reversal, and now solitude fills my days. I drop the kids off at school, or at camp, and I spend the intervening hours, like many of you, working. My co-workers are my laptop, and my kitchen appliances; my house, completely silent. No crazy, broad smiles overtake my face, and if I have to go out to fetch eggs, or berries, for a recipe I'm working on, I view the task for what it is: a chore, not a cause for celebration.
Then suddenly, the hours vanish, and it's time to pick up the boys. And as they topple into the backseat, their energy, and jokes, and stories fill the car, and the silence lifts, and my brow unfurls. We wind our way through traffic, the car abuzz with happy noise. And I'm giddy, my smile broad and half-crazy, and I wonder: if anyone saw me driving, would they assume I'd just won an award?
The next morning, they're back at school, or at camp, and it's quiet again. And I realize: the yolk has burst, and I can't stop its flow.
But it's okay, I guess. It's good.