Were inside lolling around on the living room floor, when I tell the kids (whove just given birth to their own babies: twin ducks for Rose and a healthy baby bear for Col!) that they will always be my babies.
They clamor for my lap, and I pretzel them into the small, soft space. When you grow up and leave home, youll still be my babies, I pledge to their upturned faces beaming on me like small flashlights. Even when youre my age and you have your own kids, youll still be my babies.
They smile even though they cant think beyond next Monday when I promised them we could string up popcorn and deer fat for the wild birds. Roses current and greatest aspirations are to chew gum and use an electric toothbrush. The past is a blurry story that the kids grasp like a waterfall through their outstretched hands. Was daddy your daddy, too? Col asked me recently.
These kids are so tethered to the present moment, they should teach the next round of mindfulness retreats for upstart Sri Lankan monks. They lean toward optimism and honesty like flowers twisting toward the sun. Yesterday, Col told me matter-of-factly: Rosies new thing to get what she wants is just to grab you. Rose corrected him: I only do that to Col. And then they scampered off to play.
I am holding them on my lap, gathering up sprawling legs and arms when Col throws his head like an anchor at my pillowy stomach and says just love me, Mama. Can you just love me?
That, my boy, is the easiest thing in the world.
But what I want to ask is, Will you always love me? And will I always recognize it?
When youre 15 years old, Col, and reeking of hormones and youve outgrown my lap and you slip through the house with a posse of friends speaking a secret language I cant decode, will I recognize the love in your quick nod my way before you thunder down the stairs? And Rose, in 10 years when you live behind a slammed door and my very breathing annoys you, will I catch the love and trust in your voice when you share with me a small, personal story from your boarded-up life?
Last summer, Dan and I found on our mismatched, respective bedside tables, one raspberry each. Col picked them while taking a walk with our neighbor Sage. He carried the tiny, fragile fruits home in his pocket and left them where wed find them. The raspberries were sour at first taste, though underneath was a fresh, rewarding sweetness.
In parenting, too, some bites are sour, some sweet. I have a feeling that someday all Ill remember is the sweetness.
Read Rachel Turiels blog at 6512andgrowing.word press.com.