|I know that these are Egyptian gods, not Norse. We are equal-opportunity mythologists. Photo credit: chelle at Morguefile|
Yesterday, my alarm did not go off. My husband woke me up, and the house was already alive, crawling like ants with humans needing to acquire food. There goes my writing time. (NaBloPoMo, my ass.) My middle child—the one who inherited my sleep disorder—woke under my jostle, a mess of softly breathing blankets, a monster of slumber-stolen, and begged me for more sleep. Finally, I relented, and consented that he miss Language Arts. I went downstairs.
The coffee was made and the house was warm. My teenager was up, glaring hostile at me for my participation in the indentured servitude he knows as high school. But he remembered he had half a left-over Subway sandwich for lunch and this cheered him immeasurably.
"It was nine dollars!" he tells me. "What happened to a five dollar foot-long?"
"This," I told him, "is why you never have any money."
We woke my youngest and stole him out of the bedroom he shares with my middle son.
"Today," I told him, "will be pajama day at school."
Since I am the principal and sole instructor of this school, I can make these last-minute decisions. Everything seemed quite auspicious until Mike got mad at him for not answering a question, for the hundred thousandth time. Then he fell into a sullen sulk and refused to eat his breakfast. He pushed at me with angry hands because I am his mother and therefore I am the force there always is to push. Talking this out did not assist him. We had to have a pillow fight. Afterwards, he ate some cinnamon toast and practiced his violin.
We embarked on a study of grammar, began to memorize a poem and read the first two chapters of Morning Girl. Everything looked good until we ran into a sheet on urban, suburban and rural communities. Then my headache caught up with me and it turned out I had the patience and teaching talent of a mountain troll. Sometimes, I wish there were cameras in my house to capture the brilliance and commitment of our educational adventures. At other times, I am very glad no one else is here. At any rate, we recovered quickly. That is sometimes all one can hope for, to recover quickly. The rest of the day was lost in Egypt. My littlest became a bookie taking bets on various ancient gods.
"Who would win? Ares or Set?"
"I tend not to think of things in terms of relative destructive power, " I told him. "You might want to ask your older brother."
"Who would win? Set or Zeus? I definitely think Zeus."
"Set," said Rowan at dinner. "Definitely Set."
Sometimes, I really worry about my oldest son.
"Why did all the Norse gods die?" Mikalh asked wonderingly.
"Odin broke his word. It happened after Loki was punished. Read about it. The book is over by the couch. Ragnarokk, it was called."
Ragnarokk. The day ends in destruction. Torn bodies litter the floor. The villain is vanquished, but honor is destroyed. The hour of death is nigh. Every night, the hour of death is nigh. In the morning, the day dawns new, the gods are born again and cover the earth with their works. Battles are fought, bets are placed and the food of the gods is consumed. Again and again, the arc of the day rises before setting at their doom.