8.12.2014

Impossibly Grateful



The sunlight was spilling into the room sideways.  Theo and Sully were draped over my body.  One was tucked in next to me with an arm resting over my chest.  The other was horizontal, over my legs with his arms stretched out long.  We are a pile of bleached bones, salt and seaweed bits still in our hair from the morning swim.  We did this on this day and that day.  We did this for two weeks straight, fell into this pleasantly exhausted heap together.  I managed to fill every space inside of me with the memorization of ocean blues and greens:  pale, indigo, pinkish, and until I felt utterly whole and brine-filled on this trip.  Blissfully saturated with ocean, pools, outdoor showers, tropical vegetation, shell collecting, family.  As our plane ascended and I watched Tampa Bay fade away from the airplane window, I didn't feel as sad as I usually do when I leave the ocean, especially here where I am from.  I felt an odd calm, a see you next time, love

And here we are eight days later, still a heap of sun-kissed limbs tangled together on a weekday afternoon after we've been to the pool for hours.  Blessed coolness and shade and a soft bed.  We read and tell stories.  I comb my fingers through their hair, which is no longer salty but still thick with sunscreen build up and strands highlighted from the summer sun.

Sully is anxiously waiting for the UPS truck, for they will deliver his first school backpack and lunchbox.  He turned five last week.  Five!  I did a little photo shoot to document this milestone.  If you want to take a peek, the photos are hereTheo is mildly enthused about school starting back up due to the time it will take away from lego building and bike riding, but that will change as fast as the sparrow flies once he's back with friends and his favorites like art class and learning about the world.

Both of my boys will be in school together starting in less than two weeks.  This will be the first time that they will both be away from me for a full school day, five days a week.  I'm constantly asked what I'm going to do with all of my time; aren't you just so happy?  Yes and no.  I'm thrilled for Sully to begin this new chapter, but the chapter is so big that my heart clenches when I think about it too much.  The very real truth is this:  I am heartbroken.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, has made me happier than having the opportunity to spend the last seven years with these two.  Do not be mislead, I've thrown my body on my bed and screamed into my pillow.  I've punched air.  There's more than one secret chocolate stash in my house, and I heard Sully say "fuck" the other day when he couldn't get one of his Pokemon figures to stay upright.  That is my word, my fault.  Some days they drive me absolutely mad - little terrorists plotting against my sanity.  But most days they stretch my love in ways I never dreamed possible.  They've cracked me up and rattled me into the most beautiful version of myself I've ever known.  Now here they are, about to run off to recess and Spanish class, making friends I won't know and getting library cards in their own names.  And me - oh, I expect some days and some moments to be downright unbearable.  Their absence will surely ache. But like our recent trip to the ocean, the filling up of salty air and washing and wringing out from the waves, I am full.  Full of their beautiful selves and impossibly grateful that I had this chance to free up our time and life over these last seven years to go slow and simply, together.  I trust this will be enough to carry me into our next chapter.

I sit and turn the words over and over in my mind.  The early years: we've lived them and loved them.  Wow, I can say that now.

7.15.2014

Growth


They paced the house in circles, here and there a moan escaping pouting lips.  The weight of their "we are so bored" words started pulling at me in all the wrong places.  It was later in the afternoon, after a day already spent mostly outside at the pool, in the garden-yard.  I was tired and out of sorts.  Like a smoke break, I wanted a mama break - just ten minutes or so of nothingness, deep inhaling and exhaling solitude without the smoke.

I handed each of them a perfectly ripe nectarine and sent them outside.  I, too, took a nectarine from the bowl and perched on the porch in the shade, watching them a bit further away in the grass under the tree.  They were giggling.  Sweet juice ran down my arm.  They took slow bites and swooshed mosquitoes away, blades of green grass stuck to their summer-tan limbs.  They were in their own world, oblivious that I had ever even followed them outside to eat up my own suggestion.

We need this time together to strip our lives down bare, where quiet and bored mingle in their very own reverie, always there and ready for us to arrive.  I watch as Sully hands Theo his nectarine pit.  Theo beams and heads off searching for a pocket of dirt to dig with his bare hands which he will slip the pits in and cover back up.  He'll continue to check his little mound of earth each day, hopeful that a baby tree will appear.  Sully falls back into the grass and spends a good deal of time staring at the sky.  I watch them.  I always watch them and in return little shoots of pure love shoot up and out of the mound that is my heart.  In this boredom we are quiet enough.  We are enough.

If you popped in and read my last post, I owe you an apology.  After trying to edit my words three times, I just could not find the right language to match what I was feeling.  Finally I deleted it with a silent I am sorry.

What I can say is that sometimes we have to clean out and reorganize the heart to make space for now and ahead.  And sometimes it is only in silence and boredom where we can hear the changing of the heart, to pay attention there and invite the quietude in.

There in the porch shade and the tree shade, the pacing stops and the decluttering begins.


7.01.2014

Where I Rest My Head


I was reading an essay recently and I cannot tell you a single detail about where I read it or who wrote it.  Those bits did not stick.  I can only tell you that the writer wrote something along the lines of how you should not consider your children an extension of yourself, and then things went fuzzy for me.  Those words strung together felt like grit in my teeth, like something I wanted to spit out and rinse clean with cold water.  They made absolutely no sense to me.

Just the other morning Sully reached up for me to pick him up.  I scooped his deliciousness up right there in the kitchen, Sunday morning bacon sizzling on the stove behind us.  We didn't share conversation, just a few quiet moments where our hearts beat together.  I stole long inhales of that soft wrinkly spot on his neck, just below his ear, that smells like little boy, sweet, heaven.  Before long he wiggled his way out of my arms and made a mad dash in the direction of the sound coming from his dad and brother goofing around in another room, and I watched him go running in nothing but his little-too-big underwear, pulling the invisible threads of my heart along with him.

On another day recently I came across words on a sticky note stuck to my desk.  The last I saw, it was like two little stick figures hauling the couch cushions up a staircase.  No big deal but a big deal.  Because I watch them come and go from me, all the while pulling that thread that is our collective heartbeat in and out of moments.  These beautiful, blessed things.

We are on the front porch.  It's been a day of long moments just the way summer days can especially be.  But it is behind us now as we sit, cooled down, savoring root beer floats together, watching the butterfly and the bunny.  I wake up each day and we do it all again.  And some days, like yesterday and today, I am tired.  So tired.  There's tattling, name calling, hitting and voices raised much too high, and oh my god, didn't we just do this fifteen minutes ago?  Tired.  We are not exempt. 

Yesterday I watched them snuggle up together on the couch watching a cartoon, all leggy and little boyish.  I stood in the kitchen cutting up a watermelon, and there it was again - that invisible thread between us that never goes away, not even slack.   These fibers of life bind us together.  They are my story and my truth - a love and passion that goes so deep I cannot measure it.   They are the soft linen I rest my head on at the end of each day and run my fingers gently across, the beautiful lines of mad moments and blissed out moments and the gratitude that is my life.  In the middle of all this is where I pray.  

Mother.  

Of course I am more, but I am that.  They will always be an extension of me.