Sunday, November 30, 2008

I See in Words

The dining room is lit up, the murmur of their voices can be heard from almost every room in the house as they sit close, concentrating, and questioning.

They are working on homework. More specifically, math homework.

My husband's tone is even, low, and calm. He explains the process in what sounds to me like a foreign language. He is not agitated. He is not frantic. He is methodical, easy, steady. Our son looks at his dad in such an intensely focused way that I cannot help but feel like the odd man out.

And it's true. I really am.

The odd man out.

Brett explains to our children how when he is given a math problem, he sees numbers swirling in his mind.

Like, literally sees them. The numbers. They look to me, and they ask, "Mom, do you see numbers in your mind when you do a math problem?"

I resist the urge to tell them that is what calculators are for, and marrying someone better at math than yourself. I like to refer to it as my own intellectual version of "marrying up." He is also better than me at fixing things, like cars. He understands electrical systems, and wiring, and plumbing too - all of which, I am certain, have something to do with being adept in math.

I just know it.

So no, children, I do not see numbers swirling in my head when I'm trying to help you with your math homework, or when I'm trying to budget for the month, or when I'm filling my gas tank.

Although I did recognize a difference in price lately and nearly fainted when I filled my entire tank for under $50. And I do have the comprehension skills to understand that $50 is a lot less than the $80 I was paying a few months ago at least twice a month to drive half the distance . . .

But a visual of the numbers, no.

Ask me if I see words, letters, sentences, paragraphs . . .

I will tell you that everywhere I go, the people I see, the way the wind blows, the tangible shift in the air when you feel like you are caught in the moment and everything slows down, slow motion-style, like you are in a dream and you look around and feel your life - and you recognize that it is the single best gift you've ever been given and your heart swells inside your chest so ferociously you think you may just fall victim of your own happiness.

That, I know.

When I'm standing in line at the grocery store and I look around in the baskets and carts of others and wonder what they're making for dinner, if they have families to cook for, if they are lonely, if they are entertaining or bringing something to a waiting hostess at a party they are 2 hours late for, that, I know.

When I'm shopping the day after Thanksgiving (horror of all horrors!) and I overhear a woman yelling at her husband about the color of the bath towels she is holding and the man next to me shakes his head and grumbles something about that being the very reason why he is not in a relationship, and I wonder if he is happy, if he ever was happy, if he has given up on love altogether, if he was hurt, if he'll find it again, that, I know.

When I'm turning off the highway onto the familiar street that leads home, the green trees engulfing the portion of the road that has remained untouched by developers and if I, for one minute, close my eyes and let my mind wander, I can see it just the way it was twenty years ago, when I was first learning to drive, and I can remember the way it was, how it felt to drive on the road, how few cars were on it, how everything has changed so much but still, it is the same, that, I know.

Ask me to describe how motherhood has changed me, how marriage has changed me, how life has changed me, and I can tell you in thousands of words, hundreds of sentences and many, many paragraphs, that, I know.

When I look at the faces of my children, our children, that are decidedly different than they were last month, when I marvel in the them, everything they are, everything they want to be, everything they embody, the constantness that is childhood, happening everyday in our home which frustrates and flabbergasts and knocks me on my knees simultaneously as it intoxicates every breath I take with it's beauty, it's love, it's humbleness, it's innocence and it's goodness, that, I know.

But no, children, I do not see numbers.

I am your mother, and I see words.

22 comments:

My expressions LIVE said...

I stumbled onto your blog....that was absoulutely fabulous....I completely relate....

kirida said...

this post is why i think you are awesome, Carrie.

Rachel said...

Yes, you do. Wonderful post!

I, unfortunately, see neither words nor numbers... :(

Grim Reality Girl said...

I am grateful that my children got the math gene that skipped me.... I too see the words... numbers, not so much.

alice c said...

I'm in your team, Carrie.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Great post! My oldest daughter has both. Oh to be so lucky!

Kyla said...

Me too!

Numbers, who needs 'em? LOL.

Kimmylyn said...

I loved this.. I don't really have anything else..other than I love it..

Julienne said...

That was just beautiful Carrie! I am one that sees in numbers (in fact, Mom took away my digital clock for playing number games instead of sleeping as a kid). My husband is an artist and I marvel at how he sees the world in shapes and colors. We both see much of the world in words as well. I pray everyday that our future children get aspects of both of us. It sounds like your children have gotten so much from both of you!

Little Miss Sunshine State said...

I LOVED this post. You described me! I had a dad that could see in numbers. I see everything in words and the words lead to sentences and the sentences lead to stories.

I think our way is much more fun!

Kellan said...

This was BRILLIANT! I see words too - oh so many words!! I loved this,Carrie!

Have a great week - Kellan

Liz said...

Wow...I'm breathless just reading that. Are you sure we weren't separated at birth? :)

All Adither said...

Oh, Carrie. This was lovely.

Keri said...

Funny... my hubbie see's the numbers too... me , well, i see imagination in everything.
but numbers... well they just plain scare me.

giggle... i always thought of his 'number' skills as marrying 'up' too...

Christy said...

You are a brilliant, beautiful, old soul--I love your words! :) I too have a husband that knows numbers, logic, systems of all kinds, and how to figure out & fix anything under the sun. And I, like you, are more interested in the stories I see around me every day (even the ones in my head!) This is a terrific post--I missed reading you while I was away!

nikkipicky said...

I loved that...I see words. So do I. Numbers...Thats like seeing French.

Thank you for the visit to my blog. For a moment I wondered why I was getting comments from strangers, then the mention of Nie and I knew.

We are not strangers. We all care and that gives us all something in common.

MB said...

great post! I'm so glad I came over. Thanks for commenting on my blog, too. Means a lot.

wyliekat said...

Word girl over here, too.

jen said...

and thank god that color and love and kindness aren't really numerical equations at all.

OHmommy said...

Oh yes.... I am JUST like that. Perfect post!

Mrs. G. said...

A most lovely post. Lovely.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You've captured it beautifully.