All five senses are one hundred percent intertwined with theirs. Your ears are listening for their smallest peep at night or nap time. Your eyes are watching every move on the video monitor or in the the pack 'n play. Every pore is feeling for their body heat, cleanliness, catering to their physical comfort. Any change of odor is detected faster than you can reach for the Pampers and bath supplies. Your voice sings, teaches, scolds, yells, whispers, counsels.
And your heart, I guess that's not one of the 5 senses, but perhaps we have 6 as mothers. The heart is the seat of intuition, the well of deep abiding love that initiates actions only a mother would do. Your heart is wrapping itself around theirs 24 hours a day. Are they happy, sad, disappointed, embarrassed, insecure, frightened, exuberant, rowdy, conniving, hurtful, compassionate? We monitor their emotional echo cardiogram as if it were our very own. Not sure which is greater for mothers: the physical or the visceral out pour.
But then, in keeping with the strangeness of being a mother,
there are days when you want to escape like crazy: Like a life-er locked up in Alcatraz eye-ing San Francisco with a shovel and snorkel in hand.
The news of baby number 4 and number 5 hit like the loud, reverberating slam of a jail door. Would I ever have a life of my own? Ever see my dreams fulfilled? Ever make my mark in this world? I felt trapped in the day to day battle of beating back the toys and the messes. All just for an ounce of order, a semblance of organization in my schedule and household.
I dreamt about escaping to a bed an breakfast by myself to Santa Barbara, without kids and husband. Just to stare out window with no one wanting me. Just to play a song on the piano all the way through. Three uninterrupted minutes was all I asked for. The routine of mothering felt like a cave I would never be rescued from, the light of day I'd never see. Solitary confinement.
With the last few positive pregnancy tests, my husband would assure me raising 4 boys and a girl was the best thing I could ever do with my life. (Easy for him to say, I thought). Active parenting lasts a long time - 25 years for us.
It was the ultimate emotional tug-of-war. Clutching at my individuality and letting go of theirs as they matured. The listening, counseling, watching, never stopped, the physical care gradually released as they left the nest one by one.
Our heart never leaves. But theirs will eventually be divided by another - as it should be. And guess what? My husband was right. It was the best thing I could have done with my life.
They are all grown now. I can attest that any sacrifice is far outweighed by the lifelong delight, the
fuller than full,
happier than happy
feelings I have every time
we are all together
in the house.
My chest fairly explodes when they are gathered around the table.
When their friends and girlfriends join us, the table lights up even more.
Instead of singing "Happy Birthday" at my son's 24th birthday dinner, everyone broke out singing the National Anthem instead!
The latest news about "Happy Birthday" is that the owner of the song, Summy-Birchard is clamping down on copyright infringement.
So lucky for us, one of the goofy boys (probably the very funny Vine-celebrity, Marcus Johns) lead out and we all went with it, singing the Star Spangled Banner instead. Whew!
My joy is no greater than when we sit on the same bench in the House of God.
Oh, a mother's heart when her sons are in the House!