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.
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.
Of course I am more, but I am that. They will always be an extension of me.
Hail comes followed by heavy rain, pocking, flattening and bruising everything in its path. Over and over again. My neighbor says it's also because the night's have been unusually cool. Most of the veggies in my garden just aren't taking off this summer. And there's a bunny - Cottontail Hoppy - outvoted three to one, she stays, I'm told. She eats the soft, chewy carrot tops, nibbles the outer leaves of my eggplant and two dragons tongue plants are gone. Completely vanished. My husband talks of building her a hutch; my husband who's talked about finishing our basement for five years, still untouched. I roll these words about a hutch around my mouth in circles. I sit back in the golden light of the day sipping a glass of icy prosecco and watch this little bunny resting in the grass with her heartbeat puffing her delicate bones, unfazed as my boys dart past her, and I say out loud but to no one, Well, this is not the rabbit I had in mind.
I made it to my yoga class this week. I slipped in and unrolled my mat next to the wall, the exact same spot I sat the very first time I came to the studio, to this class. I sat comfortable and in quiet, so grateful to be back after missing the last three weeks. The poses were some of the most intense yet, or maybe it's how quickly the regular work of yoga slips away when even just a short amount of time goes by not practicing. I felt faint-hot and could not clear my mind of something I've been letting get to me in the worst ways you can let something get to you, but I continued on with the yoga, all the while thinking this class must be close to over, right? And then something happened. My teacher's beautiful voice, language strung together like pearls, took over. She talked about setting our intention for the rest of the day and week (and always if I accept this yoga as the divine work of God, which is my intention.) To rise up and meet adversity with grace. And I realized what I'd really been missing the last few weeks: a teacher.
It is the end of another summer day, blessed adversity and all. The honeysuckle blazing, even if all of the thyme and pansy flowers - beautiful color has been eaten up by the bunny. I sit on the porch with my knees pulled up to my chest and watch my boys all messy with sweat, bug spray, sunscreen, dirt, ice cream rivers and chocolate goatee. I stare at the life in them and, as Mary Oliver says, And now I have finished my walk. And I am just standing, quietly, in the darkness, under the tree.
Empty the breath, begin again.