What do you do when the words come back, and you long to write…. but it’s been so long you’ve almost forgotten how?
I guess the best answer is you just jump in and start writing, and eventually you’ll find your groove again .
I’m enjoying my children.
What a bland thing to write. I know. A good life doesn’t really make for very interesting writing, or stories, not unless you put some real effort into it. I do feel a small pang of regret that I won’t be able to look back on the twins’ infancy the way I am able to with DragonMonkey and Squid’s.
Aside from a few Facebook entries chronicling my sleep deprivation, or sharing a couple of pictures of the Kraken crying, I just haven’t really taken down too many of their stories.
I think I realized in the beginning that I would have to make a choice: Do I chronicle the twins’ infancy – the small details, like the way Magpie would only “talk” at first if she had her dimpled, tiny fingers wrapped firmly around an index finger, anchoring her so the sound could bubble up out of her? The way I broke down sobbing at six weeks, crying out that I‘ve done nothing but sit on this couch nursing twins for six weeks straight, I even sleep sitting up, people aren’t made to be in a sitting position for this long, I’ve been sitting on my stupid butt for so long I actually gave myself hemorrhoids, please I just want to go outside, I just want to sleep more than two hours at a stretch, please I want to feel the sun on my face….
Shouldn’t I be writing down the intricacies of the Kraken’s cry, the way it starts out sounding like a stalled engine every single time he wakes up, or the silent way he laughs? What about the way his small, warm body curls against mine at night?
Shouldn’t I be writing about that, so I can have the memories to luxuriate in at a later date?
Or do I breathe them in now, pouring out my love in the small, simple touches of mothering that leave no time for anything but, only to have time and sleeplessness wear away the details until I’m left with nothing more than a vague sense of memory?
In case you can’t tell from the crickets and tumbleweeds on this blog, I went with option two.
I’d like to say I’m doing all sorts Pinterest-worthy mothering to my four kids…. but mostly, I’m just being lazy and enjoying the heck out of them. I suppose I ought to be doing more – signing them up for some sort of school sport, or reading more to them, or coming up with brain-growing crafts, or something like that.
I mean, I’m not saying it’s all perfect. I yell too much some days. The older boys get loud and obnoxious with each other. The babies scream.
It’s not perfect and I’m not perfect…. but overall? It’s good. Real good.
I find myself sinking into the feel of the babies in my arms, or eavesdropping on the older boys’ playing with all the lazy indulgence of a binge eater nibbling on the last few chocolates in a box.
They say that childhood is fleeting – “they” being the people who no longer have access to it as much as they would desire. If you ask the mother of a cranky two-year old toddler how fleeting childhood is, the answer will invariably be “not fleeting enough”…. but I feel it. I feel the press of time weighing down on me like the weight of the summer sun, and I feel the way this will be gone all too soon, so I drink it in, trying to drench my skin and my soul in the feel of this brief moment before it’s gone.
I’ve always had these moments of joy in my kids – I just never really write about them. There’s something very easy and simple to invite strangers on the internet to take a peek on the funny, embarrassing, or frustrating areas of my life. It’s a lot more dangerous to invite them to look in on the private things I love.
If I share a story about how am stupid, and someone reaches out to tell me, “Hey, Becky, that’s pretty stupid”… well, obviously we agree with each other.
But… but I don’t know how my heart could handle hearing a similar about something that’s actually precious to me. Oh, sure, I could get over it, but mostly I think….why risk it?
The thing is, I know why I feel this need, this sense of urgency to just take joy in my babies.
I have a friend. Had a friend. Have a friend?
Oh, it wasn’t one of those uber-close friendships. She was just someone I knew briefly in high school and only reconnected with recently because of the internet. On the surface we had a lot in common. Silly stuff. We’re both tall. We both grew up in Huntington Beach. We both went to the same church. We both had the same group of church friends. We both loved sports, and the outdoors, and the color burnt orange and Calvin and Hobbes. We both got married and had some kids. We both believe in Christ. We both had twins. Of course, we have our differences too.
I never had to leave my husband because of…. well, let’s just leave it at irreconcilable differences. I never had to move cross-country with six-week old twins. I never got diagnosed with aggressive cancer when my babies were three months old, either.
I’d been following her story for a while – the radiation, the chemo, the sickness, the laughter, the trials… if you ask me, I think it’s easier to be brave in a single moment than it is to be brave through a long, hard slog. She was brave. She even had the tattoo to prove it.
And eventually it came down to the end. And that’s where our stories differ, too. I got to spend my summer snuggling my babies. She got to spend hers learning how to say goodbye, to watch her babies turn to her parents as their primary caregivers, to be looking to transition to that next stage in life – heaven.
I received the news of her passing via Facebook… which is as it should be. I wasn’t a close family friend, or someone who was all that close with her in the end…. but her passing still hit me.
I loaded up the babies into a stroller and we all headed out to the park – the boys bouncing and chattering about Pokemon Go, me quiet in contemplation of inevitable mortality, the simple joy of the sun on my shoulders, and the sound of my children.
For the record I’ve decided it’s impossible to be truly sad when you have to focus on herding children down a sidewalk – it takes too much effort and concentration to keep them all heading the same direction. Besides, there was something healing in just being a mom to my kids in response to her finally resting from her fight, and flying away home.
I know this is heavy stuff, so I guess I’ll end it here. I just wanted to take the time to say….Julianne, I can’t wait to hang with you in heaven. And in the meantime…. thank you for making me a better mom, and for reminding me that it’s okay to just enjoy my kids.