Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Moments that Moms Need Most

It was Saturday night. The kids were finally in bed. The mess called dinner had been wiped up, rinsed off and the dishwasher hummed softly. The bathwater had been drained and the plastic toys stacked precariously along the sides of the tub.

I gathered discarded clothing and forlorn playthings in my arms as I made the trek up the stairs. There was a baseball game on TV. My husband sat engrossed, directing the players as if they could hear him (a quality I've always found endearing, personally). It was the top of the 8th inning, which meant absolutely nothing to me except that the game would last at least 30 more minutes, which really meant that I would have 30 minutes ALL TO MYSELF.

The thought of 30 restful minutes by myself with no interruptions sent me rushing up the stairs with the hurried enthusiasm of a young child who has discovered his mother's stash of sour gummy worms and must stuff them all into his mouth before she gets out of the bathroom. #truestory

I jumped into bed, burrowed in the covers, surrounded myself with pillows and propped my laptop on my knees. This is my go-to form of relaxation, "internesting," as John calls it. I sighed deeply, relishing the moment, and flipped open the computer screen, ready to kick off a killer Saturday night. What first? Should I catch up on some blog reading? Organize my photos? Right after I check Facebook...

And then I heard it. That one sweet word which is so filled with love and tenderness, until it is uttered after 9:00pm with the same inflection as a dying cat.

"Maa-mee? Maaaaaa-meeeeeeeee??" the little voice pleaded, peeking around my bedroom door.

GAAAHHHH!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! WHY???? is what I wanted to yell very loudly, but instead, with uncanny restraint that should probably earn me some sort of medal, I quelled my exhaustion and frustration enough to hiss between clenched teeth, "NOW WHAT IS IT?"

"Mommy, I just want to give you one more good-night hug."

I eyed him suspiciously. This was approximately his 27th request since being tucked in. Against my better judgement I ever-so-tenderly barked, "ok, fine, but make it quick."

 My son slowly sauntered over to my side of the bed. He set his worn, blue blankie on my lap, wrapped both arms around my neck and squeezed tightly. My laptop slipped off my knees as I returned the embrace. Maybe it was because he had just turned six, or maybe it was the way his once-tiny body now practically ran the length of my own as he crawled in beside me, but something sent a pang through my heart as I watched him.

"Do you wanna hear all the X-Men I know?" he asked. Stall tactic number 28.

"How do you know about X-Men?" I replied, taking the bait.

"My friend from swim lessons. He knows all of them. There's Wolverine and Cyclops, they're good, and Magneto is the bad guy and he has the coolest superpower..."

But I was only half listening. My brain was confused. Wasn't he just two years old, toddling around the house with a paci and this same raggedy blanket? I must be really exhausted. I blinked and shook my head to clear the fog, but there he still was, nearly 4 feet tall and using words like "magnetic forcefield." He will be starting real, official, all-day Kindergarten in a few short days. He is reading and writing, swimming and biking. I can see the young man he is becoming and yet, here he still sits with all his baby teeth, rubbing the silk of his old blankie.

On a whim I reached up and gripped his tiny bottom tooth with two fingers. To both of our shock and amazement, it wiggled.

"JAAAAAACK!" I screamed, breaking out of my stupor, "YOU HAVE A LOOSE TOOTH!!!"

A dumbfounded giggle was all he could manage until his father walked in the room. "DADDY!! I HAVE A LOOSE TOOTH!!"

I glanced at John and immediately recognized the same look of throat-catching disbelief spreading across his face; not that he couldn't believe his son's tooth was loose, but that he had failed to realize our firstborn child was now old enough to have a loose tooth.

I am not normally the weepy mama. I didn't shed a tear at the first preschool drop-off or when they moved to big boy beds or even at any of their births. It's not that I'm an unfeeling robot, I think it's more that I have a control freak tendency to brace myself against these typical tear-jerking moments. Conversely, something sappy will catch me off guard and I will end up weeping into my potato chips over a Hallmark commercial. Or the stupid Giving Tree book. Don't you see, kids? The tree gave EVERYTHING to the boy (sob) and the tree was (sob) HAPPY. Is this not a metaphor for our lives??

This is probably why I did not need a tissue for preschool graduation, but now I began to choke back sobs over one tiny wiggly tooth. And don't tell him I told you so, but John suddenly needed his t-shirt to wipe something out of his eyes.

Jack glanced between the two of us, not sure what to make of the sudden outburst of emotion. "Um, are you guys ok?"


I took this to remember these brothers with all their baby teeth.

Also, I may print it out and clutch it to my chest as I uncharacteristically weep throughout the entire first day of Kindergarten.
Then Henry, unable to sleep with all the commotion, came barreling in to investigate and it took all but 5 seconds for the boys to end up a tangle of limbs and giggles, steamrolling my nest of pillows in the process. Also, the term 'boys' includes their 6 foot 3 inch father, whom it appeared was having the most fun of all in this spontaneous wrestling match. 

I tried to shush in between belly laughs, Shhhhh! You'll wake up the baby!, although it almost seemed a shame she was missing all the fun...almost.

The baseball game was over, as were any hopes of a restful half hour to myself, only now, it didn't so much matter to me anymore.

I did not get the chance to relax that night, but when I finally did go to bed, I felt invigorated and inexplicably happy.

I suppose there is no rest for the weary mom, but instead we have these moments. And these God-given moments are even better.

These moments of laughter fill me up until my heart overflows with contentment. These occasions of togetherness are the answers to a prayer I didn't even know my heart had prayed and they keep me going day after day. These bittersweet instances remind me of the brevity of childhood and leave me longing for more of these moments.

These are the moments that I need most.

1 comment:

  1. Love. I feel that way with all three right now. Molly is getting so big, and my boys are not little toddlers anymore! #slowdownpleeeaase