I am tired. I could have told you that when I was at college, reading until it felt my eyes would bleed. At the end of the night, with every book they would let me take, I stood in front of the elevator on the sixth floor of Bobst Library, waiting. The hour before midnight, was a popular hour for the elevator. I am sure they had a fire code in the 80’s. There must have been stairs, but I didn’t know about them. If it took a while, I sat. The floor was carpeted, with a liner underneath. It was the kind you could easily lie down on; the kind that if you were sent to someone’s house to sleep and there weren’t enough beds, you would say to yourself, “these people have great carpet.” And so I would lie down. Security would find me sleeping with my stack of books and my bags and with no luck shouting down to me, shake me gently, saying, “you can’t sleep here. you can’t do that.”
I could have easily told you I was tired when I was pregnant and couldn’t eat. Or pregnant and could eat, with an unborn baby the size of a spaceship eating everything I could get my hands on before I could get to it.
Or when he was 18 months, in black and white houndstooth shorts and a white onesie, and found the word, “no” and stuck to it with the same magnetic force that keeps the earth swinging around the sun. Or when he was 2 and started walking, and we had moved down into the village of Mercatale, where all doors open onto a main road.
Or when he was 3 and discovered he could climb heights not meant for men, at the speed of the supernatural. If your child is fast, you have to be faster.
If your child is clever, you better be more than one chapter ahead, because a child will finish that book in the night, without ever laying an eye on pages.
I was sure I would be less tired when he got older.
Sleep isn’t something I expect or try to achieve anymore. My mother’s words float and settle into my mind in the tiny hours of the the night, when it is as still as the world permits. “Don’t worry about sleep. Think about breathing instead. What a luxury,” she would say, “to lie in the bed, without having to do anything at all but breathe.”
If your greens start to fade before you have decided what to do with them, make them into soup. A soup can take more greens than you would ever believe possible. And think how good that is going to make you feel. Clean two or three leeks by shaving off the dark green ends as if you were carving a twig for a marshmallow stick. Cut them right down the middle from top to bottom, and then into three inch pieces. Leave them to soak in a bowl of cold water until they have released their sand. Lift them from the water with your hands, and set them onto an absorbent tea towel. Get a good sized saute pan going over medium heat with a few tablespoons of butter and a spill of olive oil. Drop the leeks in. Season them with salt and just a little freshly ground pepper. Add a few stalks of the tired celery, finely chopped. (If it is finely chopped, it won’t get stuck in your immersion blender, later). Add two whole cloves of smashed garlic, that you smash to release their skins, a few sprigs of parsley, a sprig of thyme, and a bay leaf. Let that go for about 5 minutes. Peel one potato and chop into small pieces. Add that, with a little more salt. Wait for the potato to grab the pan, and then pour in water, just to cover the potato. Simmer, with the lid ajar, until the potatoes are tender. Taste for salt. Add all the greens you want, at least 12 ounces, and up to a pound. Simmer for another five minutes. Puree with your immersion blender until smooth. Add a tablespoon of butter, or a pour of best olive oil and taste again for salt and pepper. This is good with or without shards of Roman or Umbrian pecorino, or an earthy chèvre from the Loire.