Monday morning came heavy and grey; a merciless headache and sore throat included.
Some chores had to be done, less so taking the boys to school. Pink eye on one, a bit of a cough on the other, the house felt like a camp where the blind learned to lead the blind. Everyone stayed home.
Two boys and a sea of Lego has but one big consequence. Creativity; with loads to spare. Breakfast anyone? Later, yes. Clink-clank, get started.
Head aching, I returned to bed for a nap. Close the door, soft covers wrapped around… Sleep.
Clink-clank. Pieces of Lego being fished out of the pile, not a good one, let it get buried by unearthing others. Clink clank, busy boys’ hands, eyes intently following the trajectory of fingers into the pile. Clink clank… Let’s be quiet, Mom is sleeping, says one boy to the other. Boys shushing, a cluster of whispers hanging by the door but not daring to come in.
Head stubbornly pounding, I wake up… I hear them whisper, playing… Memories of teeny boys snuggled against my body, smelling sweet and having their round arms all scrunched against their soft tummies, PJs all crumpled up, hiding behind their round knees… Nestled around like little birds, cozy and quiet… Please, there will be no growing up from now on.
Why grow up, what’s there to do, what’s there to see?… You see a lot more when you’re stopping at every step to observe the world, you’re doing that now. So stay… Was the world richer then? It was, it is still…
Clink-clank… Asleep, awake, I should not miss a moment with them. When I wake up they’ll be older… Nothing stays the same. Lego people with short-lived bodies, crossing boundaries of time and becoming astronauts a minute or two after roping a plastic cow because they were cowboys…
Clink-clank, just two minutes ago… boys were small and words were as round as their fingers pointing to things they could not call by name because they did not know the words. Laughter…Shh, Mom is sleeping, let’s be quiet. Whispers flying around like soft butterflies, boys voices…
Memories of a new baby growing inside my womb, tiredness, joy. Big brother cuddled to read a book, eyes bright and ready, mornings starting too early, but time was ours, the big secret I found out about later…Big brown eyes, seas of love enveloping all my sleepiness and making it right. Can we read, mama? I read slow, he laughs, I read it again just to hear the chuckle, and then again… Laughter hides in the creases of my heart made especially for that. Little boy laughing and smelling sweet, asking for stories, more and more… Keep asking, make me remember I should never stop telling stories, because then you’ll laugh; when you laugh, you stay, time is ours…
The rushed river of life take laughter and round fingers pointing to worlds new and fantastic, days of unexpected joy, ‘just because’ hugs and kisses… the rushed river takes them all like small boats floating to islands of unchartered self, islands I did not know of until they appeared when little boys were born. Because they had to have places to live in. Tell me again how I was when I was born… They ask of the world only I have seen, the world of them joining mine.
I doze off, clink-clank… I wake up to a sweet burned smell that snaked its way into the bedroom and lands on my pillow. The boys, they must be hungry… Something’s cooking…
The sea of Lego is still in the living room, I step carefully over boats and forts and cowboys who lost their hats… the smell, what’s the smell? Little boy lifts bright hazelnut eyes from the sea of Lego. “I helped Tony make pancakes, for when you wake up…So you’ll feel better.”
Big brother chirps in … “They may be a bit salted… and a bit burned, we kinda guessed the recipe…” Big boy, wide-eyed and smiling, surprised at his own sudden growth into knowing how, explains some more with a hug. “To make you feel better…”
You don’t cry when that happens. You are not allowed. How could you not… You can, please know that you should. Because you see, the tears, hidden as they are, are but the big boulders that will stop the mad rush of the river, the boats will be pushed into green fields to become forget-me-nots… and you will never forget this, that and all that has been…
You want to keep them there… the clink-clanks of games past and present, the snuggles, the hugs, the surprises, the little hands creating wonders and not knowing the words to name them and inventing a whole new world of wonder just for you… The worries even, you know how to do it all as long as they are there, near… not letting go.
Don’t grow, stay. What then?
There’s much to see as they grow, much to learn and then there is the time when they’ll want to break free… They won’t go far without looking back. If you let them go, never clipping their wings, if you love them enough to never clip their wings, they’ll have wings strong enough to bring them back…
I will know it when it comes. Time will be the teacher of all. Life as it comes… Fluid, beautiful, clink-clank of boats that will keep on floating down a rushed river which you’ll never stop entirely but sometimes… Go on, dip your toes, live, grow; grateful for seeing it all, for salty pancakes and for the hugs that came with it. Better?
Pancakes were salted that Monday morning, a bit burned and the most amazing I’ve ever tasted. Like in fairy tales, taking a bite, just one, keeps the magic there, keeps you there and keeps them too… Stay, don’t grow yet. And when you will, will you be back every now and then?
Clink-clank… the Lego sea. It’s a sea we’ve learned to sail for now, square waves and all, they’ve never been rounder in my heart… We should be on it for a while. Clink-clank.
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