So sometimes on Sunday nights you all just stay in, make mac ‘n cheese, maybe get it smeared all over your cheeks and watch a movie.
The sofa sags under tiny butts all scrambling for a spot closer to daddy.
There are wet, muddy socks strayed all down the hallway. The edge of the front yard is turning into a muddy rut from all the hours of soccer played with the neighbors. The wash basket is spilling over with three times the amount of clothes normally worn in a day because rain doesn’t slow boys down it just speeds up the laundry.
There’s a kind of homesick that only these four people can fill.
It’s not exciting. It’s everything.
It’s how he gets so frustrated the world feels like it’s about to boil over and my temper with it. As he gets in my face and complains for the thousandth time today about the thousandth thing. I want to snap, I feel myself stretched thin and frazzled and I grab his shoulders hard in the hallway. I grab him hard and the shout wells up like a rollicking gawp in my chest but what comes out surprises us both.
“I was cut and I bled more for you than any of the other kids,” I yell.
“And it hurt.
And I would do it again. And again. And again. Because I must have a Micah in my life.
I must have you!”
And his taught body melts against me, tears stealing into his eyes.
We need this. This place that builds a wild assurance of belonging. We need to belong so hard it hurts.
Sometimes belonging feels like that yellow blanket we’ve had since a snowy winter in Michigan when I was still just a one baby mama.
Two babies later and it’s pock marked with old stains and pink markers. Still so soft though that kids all want it tucked around their toes on late nights or early mornings.
And later when I tuck the baby girl in she asks me to read her a story. But the light’s already off and the music is already on and I’m so tired. So I offer to tell her one instead. She nodds so close to me that her curls tickle my nose. I lean over here and start to whisper the story of when I only had two boys and once upon a time I found out I was going to have a little girl.
She wrinkles her nose and grabs my cheeks in her hands and pulls me close, close to her face. We’re breathing the same breath as she grins so hard at me I can feel the love of it wrapping around my insides.
“And it was Zoe Grace,” she whispers over the night light and the thrumming of my heart and I tell her, “yes, yes baby! It was you!”
We both laugh and hug and I don’t need no big job titles or accolades because I have this treasure wrapped up in a pink princess blanket and I’m the wealthiest woman I know.
And in the morning a boy teaches me his new laugh and a girl wants to draw pencil circles on the white pad of paper next to me at the dining room table. And another boy starts telling me all over again the litany of reasons he should be allowed to stay home from school.
And the laundry still waits. A patient reminder that sometimes treasure is found in unexpected and utterly ordinary places.
And tomorrow? Tomorrow I want to share a South African story with you. A story about so many moms just like us with ordinary every day, overflowing laundry baskets. Because it’s a story about you and me. And how we can make an extraordinary difference.
Come back tomorrow for a laundry dare, will you?
Let’s make this week matter together.
UPDATED: SURPRISE IS LIVE —> Click over and join Laundry Day for Africa, won’t you?