Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Reflections | 12 comments

The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant–and let the air out of the tires.

- Dorothy Parker

This guy right here? We used to cry on my bed together. He’d sob because he wasn’t allowed to interrupt me thirty times a minute while I was talking on the phone, eat Oreos for breakfast, stay up till midnight. I’d weep because, at the time, I had three children under five and felt like a totally inept mother. It’s hard to be the oldest kid, what with your parents agonizing over every perfectly natural stage you inevitably go through as a child. I expect too much. I expect too little. I’m still learning to choose my battles – it’s something I pray through every day. 

I received an e-mail a couple of weeks ago containing important information regarding his upcoming promotion to High School. They told me it would go by fast, those nostalgic grandmas who’d empathetically watch me struggling to contain four teeny-tinies at the grocery store, the library, at church.  I didn’t believe them. Because those hours at home changing diapers, nursing babies, never sleeping, felt endless, and the outings endless too and so fraught with potential, embarrassing, hazards. 

But now look, here is it fifteen minutes later and the days they bleed one into the next. And this guy right here?  He defiantly disobeys my pleadings to slow it down with the shooting up taller than me and starting to talk like a man. I get wistful sometimes, like right now as I look at these photos. He’s really grown on me, my first born.  

 

I know I’ll miss all of this when our house becomes quiet: the chaos, our loaded schedule, the frequent laughing, crying, apologizing, forgiving. I’m such a flawed, flawed mom trusting that unconditional love truly covers a multitude of parental missteps. I adore my sons and daughters, my husband, and this crazy beautiful life we’ve built with joy, sweat and tears over the last decade and a half. 

I am grateful. 

Laundry

By Ruth Moose

All our life
so much laundry;
each day’s doing or not
comes clean,
flows off and away
to blend with other sins
of this world. Each day
begins in new skin,
blessed by the elements
charged to take us
out again to do or undo
what’s been assigned.
From socks to shirts
the selves we shed
lift off the line
as if they own
a life apart
from the one we offer.
There is joy in clean laundry.
All is forgiven in water, sun
and air. We offer our day’s deeds
to the blue-eyed sky, with soap and prayer,
our arms up, then lowered in supplication.