There are days when keeping a healthy perspective on life is a precarious balancing act; and expectations are a weight beyond my capacity to hold, let alone rise above. A scheduled, predictable life, which is so important for the health and stability of a child, well…it can sometimes make me feel stretched thin, pulled by a thousand strings. A life where spontaneity is a rare luxury.
But as I sit here, thinking about my kids, I know they make my life worth it. Like yesterday, walking home from work I could see Quinn and Derek out in the street playing catch. When Quinn saw me he yelled out, “Hey it’s Mom!” and he ran toward me like he hadn’t seen me in years. And this child, my 9-year old son, jumped from a full sprint into my arms and smiled at me like I was the sun after a long stretch of dark and rainy days. Regardless of what I’m experiencing during my gloomy times, I know he feels loved completely.
And today when I walked in the house, Isabella threw her arms around my waist and hugged me so tightly my only option was to drop everything I had in my hands and pick her up to hug her back, still standing in the doorway. She wrapped her legs around me, grabbed my shoulders tightly and leaned back, her thousand watt grin focused whole-heartily on me. “I love you Mommy!” Then she completed her kiss-hug-hug-kiss-hug-kiss-kiss-hug routine with such intensity and so many times that I lost count. In those moments it’s clear to me I’m the only person in the world she sees.
Both my kids were bubbling over with the fact they’d made me something for my birthday. They spent the early evening happily singing, hiding in various rooms away from me so I wouldn’t see what they were doing. Quinn even delayed getting ready for bed (he usually whirlwinds through the nighttime routine) and bounced down the stairs. “Here ya go Mom, I haven’t done anything for bed because I made you this.” He handed me a tiny stack of unevenly cut paper all stapled together. He’d drawn a birthday cake and above it he’d written, ‘Mom’s birthday cupon book.’ Every page has a drawing to match the coupon which is penciled either in cursive or block letters:
‘make your own cupon’
‘draw with you’
‘fix dinner with you’
‘go shopping with you’
‘scoop cat poop’
‘make your bed’
It helps me to sit down, reflect and capture these crystalline moments because I can look back at them and know that I took the time to grab a few wispy filaments from their childhood and preserved them. And it allows me to feel a certain amount of peace to know that happy seconds are not the only things to come and go quickly, the hard times just feel like they last longer. I can glimpse the comfort of knowing life, regardless of how static it sometimes feels, in reality, is constantly flowing around me.