The bacon sizzles hot and fat in the pan. The microwave sings alongside and dust motes dance in the sun along my window frames. Me and the house exhale loudly. The morning tornado of boys has been safely delivered to preschool, the baby is sleeping and other than Kenny Chesney on the radio I’m alone and it is good and quiet and warm here in the morning of my own choosing.
I think about silence and how much I like it these days.
How a dream weekend would involve me and Pete, a ginormous mattress, and hours of uninterrupted sleep. Yep, just sleep. The muscles in my neck are hunched and knotted and it’s coming back to me how much a tiny baby can weigh after hours of holding and rocking and feeding until she rivals a young elephant calf for seeming body mass.
I’ve thought and walked and made art boxes for the boys this past month. I’ve forgotten my phone in the car overnight and forgotten that I’d forgotten it. I’ve participated in mother-son karate and planned long trips to big, muddy parks with small creeks for boys to feel big and bold and as wild and free on the outside as they imagine themselves on the inside.
And I keep coming back to the now in my life that is motherhood. This central season of wild, tempremental weather that woos and frustrates me sometimes in the very same moment. Unpredictable as a high veld storm. Passionate as Rome. Rarely ever quiet.
What is it we seek in our homes? Justice or quiet? Maturity or mere tranquility?…Parenting is a process of regular disturbances for a high and noble end. … We are to train and instruct our children. Training is sometimes painful, occasionally noisy, usually bothersome, and always purposeful.” ~Devotions for Sacred Parenting, Gary Thomas.
When I dropped Micah off this morning it was painful, noisy and bothersome. His red, angry face mirrored his mad heart. Jackson had brought something of Micah’s in for show and tell. Micah wanted it back. Micah wanted the morning snack the early arriving kids were just finishing up. He didn’t want milk. He did want me. He also didn’t want me.
And I just wanted to snap and yell and demand obedience apart from reason.
Regular disturbances for a high and noble end.
I go down on my knees and try to imagine myself behind those sky blue eyes streaming frustration and a desperate need for shared control over the small moments that matter to a three-year-old. I let Jack show the toy to his teacher and then tell him we’re giving it back to Micah. Instead of hissing what I’m thinking, “If you don’t stop crying this second, I’m leaving and taking this stupid toy home with me” I try to see the world from inside his head.
A mom-free landscape stretches ahead. And it can come as an adventure in independence or a lonely journey pockmarked by last, angry words.
I rub his back. I wet a paper towel and wipe it gently over his hot eyes. His breathing slows. And when a teacher offers up extra graham crackers and yogurt, I quickly claim some for Micah. He sits. He eats. Slowly. Cautiously watching me. I wink at him. He eats some more. Exhales. Drinks milk.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1.
Why have I never read my kids into that verse? Why is it ok for me to yell and not for them? What kind of day would I have if Peter lost his temper with me right as I was leaving for work?
Micah clears his plate, moves over to the carpet and circle time. And then he gives me the thumbs up. Our universal cymbal for, “I’m ok, mom, you can go now.” A grin whispers at the corner of his mouth. I smile so big back at him I can almost hear my heart exhale.
So I come home to bacon and eggs and 45 minutes of writing and thinking and eating before Zoe needs my arms again. Kenny is still singing in the background, I’m feeling deliciously full, and it’s not just the breakfast.
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