Saturday Morning

October in Oost - Flowers and Swan

I’m woken by the soft, slanted sunlight dancing on the far wall of our bedroom.  Light the color of koffiemelk or cinnamon butter.  The walls, the ceiling, the bedcovers — all creamy and cool.  Birds are chirping, warbling, singing outside.  Beyond the bedroom door, there is the sound of children playing and singing, and there is the sound of their mother hushing them while pouring breakfast cereal into their bowls.  But I don’t have to be up yet; it’s my turn to sleep in.  There is justice in my laziness, and this makes it all the more delicious.

When I finally emerge from the bedroom, I am wearing flannel pants printed with barnyard animals.  The imprint of creased sheets and pillowcases is on my face, and I smile a “good morning” to my lovelies.  A very good morning.

After a bowl of my own breakfast cereal, Cor and I shave.  He’s only two and a half, with cheeks as soft as a parachute, but he takes his shaving seriously.  I dip his plastic razor into the water and hand it back to him.  I look into the mirror, Cor looks at me, and we both scrape our faces gently, using our left hands to check and make sure that we blaze smooth trails across our faces.  When he’s had enough, he says “All done,” and hands his razor back to me.  I finish up and then tell the children to get their socks and shoes on.  I tell them to brush their hair and find their coats.  I tell them that I’m going to take a little shower, and then we’re going to take a walk together.

Shaved, showered, and shoed, we step out into the spring morning.  Brilliant blue skies stand out behind orange-tiled rooftops.  The sun is glorious, soaking into my dark jacket, giving it an almost iridescent quality, like the feathers of a blackbird.  We gasp about the glorious weather.  We talk about which parks we want to visit, which waterfowl we hope to see at the canal.  Elliot is partial to “diver-birds” (grebes).  Olivia likes the ducks.  Cor is especially fond of the coots.  I like them all, though I consider a swan to be an especially noteworthy sighting.  We all agree that seagulls are the worst:  so gangish, so greedy, so mean.  On this morning, however, there aren’t many birds at all:  just a few pigeons and two mallard ducks.  We gaze at them for a few minutes, though Cor keeps asking where the coots are.  “Coot?  Coot?  Daddy, coot?”

We walk further, no hurry, no agenda.  The sun and the walk have warmed us to the point that we must unzip our coats.  Today, we decide to stop for a bottle of juice and a muffin.  Between bites, we read coffee-stained children’s books:  “Tonnie in Bad” and “Teletubbies Doen Elkaar Na.”  They’re not such good stories, but nobody seems to mind.  After finishing our snack, we return to the cool spring air, ambling our way home by way of the butcher shop.  We’re recognized as regulars by the brothers and their wives who run the shop, and before we leave they always ask, “Plakje worst?” The kids nod and say, “Ja, graag,” and then they are given complimentary slices of grilled sausage (which Cor calls cookies).  We get home close to lunch time, which is blissfully close to rest time.

There is no point to this story — just as there is no point to these mornings.  I have to say, though, that pointlessness and Saturday mornings have to be some of the loveliest things of all.

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