We’re walking home from school. A day of “Mom, you know what happened today?” and everything is so important. They both want to talk. Simultaneously. Their words bubble like cute little mud volcanoes.
“Hey I was talking!”
“Mine is shorter to say! Mom, you know…”
Who was first? The forever conundrum.
Interrupted, again, little guy puffs and walks ahead. Whatever. You can’t win all of them. Big brother is excited. A new program at school involving babies. To elicit empathy… “but Mom, it seemed like we were observing an animal, that’s not right. It’s not good for the baby.”
Empathy springs from other existential corners, we both agree. My boys are learning life. Are they learning the right things? I teach them to question things, to think for themselves, how else will they know how to choose the right path? But right and wrong are not set in stone, I tell them. Think, don’t betray common sense,
Common sense. “We have that, Mom, don’t we?” Yes, heaps of it, sweet boys, except for the times when you’re so wild and chopping down all the wisdom, patience trees I’ve been planting since you came into my world. But those times, they are my trials, my getting lost as a mom and finding myself again. Better? Who knows. Willing, always. Yours truly.
I remember my boys as babies. Peeking at the world from their slings, infinite cuddles, nursing like koala bears and holding onto my shirts with tiny pudgy hands. Loving the night snuggles, quiet breathing and twitching of eyelids. The mystery of baby dreams… what do they see?
The afternoon light is made of caramel and fine dust, and I coax them outside. They need no coaxing.
“Wanna play cowboys?” Tony’s favorite game these days.
Leather holster, vests, cap guns that puff smoke and make clackety noises, hats that tilt backwards… “Mom can we get the Chilly hats?” It’s Tilley, I want to say, but I know better than to correct Sasha. He still speaks words that seem to have come from his baby dreams, a world that’s sweet and round like the fists that were holding on to the my shirt,
They drop, roll, yelp, climb and I succumb to being there.
Piled dishes can wait, wilted flowers can wilt no more until they are taken out, crumbs from breakfast that stick to socks, they can wait… this time will never come back.
Today this, tomorrow that, from one day to the next, we celebrate growth; I push them out of the nest gently “Come on, you can…” but then I pull them back in. Stay, wings need to grow.
I want to be with them when October afternoon sun bends over them in soft caramel arches, I want to see their sweaty faces and worry about them dropping too hard to the ground… “We’re boys, Mom…” Smile, laugh, I stand to catch bits of it and just like dandelion fluff, laughter scatters everywhere… To grow further, to become. Bright, golden. Stay, grow. Nothing stays the same.
“Mom, I want the holster now!”
“No! I didn’t have it enough. No!”
“Moom! He is not sharing!”
Wait, what? I lost track. Who has what? Does it matter? Sweetness whimpers, departs like a wounded animal. No, come back. It does. This time. Every time I fear that it won’t. It always does. What drama queen.
It’s true. Motherhood makes you dramatic, you have to know colors, be fair and remember how to catch smiles; you have to be there, soul done or undone but who cares. You have to teach little people how to take turns, to share… But you yourself never want to share them, the (dande)lion heads. You want the crowns, the fluff, the escaping fluff and the air around them. Shhh, don’t say it out loud. How wicked and childish, people will say. How aware of preciousness and its infuriating fleeting nature, you say. You know.
“That was a good game, Mom. Can you bake cookies tonight?”