Thursday, July 31, 2014

When Mothers Embrace the Silence

I rocked my baby today.  Pulled him gently onto my lap and cradled his head into the crook of my arm, just like I used to do when I could easily carry him from room to room.

My eight-year-old rarely needs love like this much anymore.  Then again, most days don't find him exhausted from an early morning's wake-up call as we strive to turn back the clock for school's start next week.  That combined with a small body worn from last weekend's bout with strep was enough to tip the scales towards a teary meltdown when he crashed heads with his brother.

When I held out my arms, he snuggled into me without hesitation, a broken little boy swallowed up inside mommy's big Mr. Bingle blanket with the ice cream cone "hat."  Long legs bent to curl around me, but unlike the last time he needed my lap, they stuck out well beyond the confines of the La-z-boy to kick the books atop the sofa's end table.

Still, I held him as if he fit perfectly (which he did), stroked the softness of his still-little-boy face, noticed the distinct outline of his lips, the blue green flecks in his brown eyes that focused intently on my face while I spoke words of comfort.  

"Just close your eyes and rest for a few minutes," I whispered.  "I'll sing you a song from when you were little."

Long lashes flickered then fell.

"Love. Love. Love, love.  Little Wyatt needs some love.  Needs some lovin' from his mommy.  Love, love. Love."

A slight smile tipped the edges of his mouth at the mention of his name, but he did not stir.  The minutes passed.  I rocked slowly and held him close, humming the soothing tune in an effort to slow down time against the rush of to-do lists and noise of twins almost finished eating lunch in the kitchen. 

In the stillness, I listened to his breathing, grasping this moment for all it was worth, unsure of when it would come again.

He finally opened his eyes again, tearing welling up as he finally gave voice to unspoken concerns of leaving the farm and not having anymore one on one time with his Opa once school started next week.

I understand.

He's already learning a bittersweet lesson from life, how this fallen world leaves us with our hearts divided among many people, many places.  How the fullness of loving someone is also accompanied by absence when separated.

Lately, I have been learning the power of silence, of just sitting and listening to the empty air, of waiting in the pregnant pauses without counting the minutes in patience or seeking to fill it with mere noise.  The creak of an unoiled spring, the repetitive thrum of a ceiling fan, the rush of water in the sink...

if I just allow myself only these sounds in the silence and not seek to fill it with thoughts of my own, that's when my children reveal themselves to me, when their thoughts unfurl like a sun-warmed rose into the emptiness and give me the chance to be the mother I so long to be.

Image: Oldest son wrapped in another blanket during Mexico week at our house this summer.

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