But I nailed the timing this spring break. My sons are 8 and 10—straddling the divide between magic and reality. They can walk all day, carry their own stuff and are generally willing to wait for something they want.
I had a long list of places I wanted to see. I wanted my passport filled with stamps, my bones tired from bumpy bus rides on backwood roads in some distant place. But it didn’t turn out that way. The pull to stay with my family, and in my place, was so great that the best I could do was go to graduate school across the country in Oregon.
Becoming a Mother was not how I imagined. I was baby bluesy, overwhelmed and under-rested. Nursing was difficult, endless and painful.
More often than not when all of the boys are having fun, I am washed with sadness and anger. I think about the what-ifs and the why-hims, and I'm filled with bitterness and envy for those families that are whole and complete.
Nothing worked and I am strict. I don’t bend to whining. Their stalling stretched longer and longer while my frustration reached chart-topping levels. I yelled. I ignored them except to say “clean up and we’ll talk.” I threatened. I set timers. I set specific tasks. I rewarded quick clean up with TV (that worked for two days). I suggested before each quiet time that they not dump out every single blessed toy in the basement. Nothing worked.
I wasn’t drafted into motherhood. I enlisted. Eagerly. And I love being a mom. I love it when the kids sneak into bed with us in the middle of the night. I love that my son and I made it through colic to the other side. I love that he scares me to death jumping off the highest objects he can find. I love that I walk through the dining room tripping over toys I swore would never be allowed in my dining room. I love it. I just didn’t expect the bitter aftertaste that comes with it.
He’s my office mate and I’m sure he had no idea what was about to befall him when my boss walked me into our shared office last June. And share I have. Over shared, in fact, most days. Everything that goes through my head comes out of my mouth and there is only one thin cubicle wall between me and him. He hears it all.
I love bed time for all the wrong reasons. Actually, one specific wrong reason: because it means in 45 minutes I will have three hours all to myself. A crackling fire, a glass of wine and the fourth book in the Game of Thrones series call my name plaintively from downstairs, forcing me to dig deep and breathe slowly through the last push.
I’ve been knocked down, almost knocked out, had my feet stomped on countless times, and even had a piggy-back ride choke me to the point of seeing stars. All of this from two little people who love me so much they simply can’t stay off me. Their hearts would break if they realized how many injuries I have sustained in this job of raising them. Despite all these bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes, I can say with my whole heart that my kids have healed me much more than they’ve hurt me.
In the soft morning light, as he melted into me, my heart expanded. With each smile, each hug, each mischievous giggle, my heart has stretched further than I ever dreamed it would. Like sharp, broken glass, tumbled by the ocean current, my love for him smoothed and softened. Sea glass. I cannot imagine another day of my life without him in it.My love for him is like sea glass. My treasured boy has taught me that sometimes, out of disappointment, we find immeasurable joy. Unexpected, endless joy.