* I’ve been up since 4am, 4 hours of sleep.. getting our bags packed and soothing sick babies to bed. An early rise, tearful goodbyes, and a full day of adventures awaiting. We nap on the airport floor in an empty terminal, until I open my eyes and realize that it’s filling up fast, as departures for Germany approach, and I’m soon shooed away. Scooping up still sleeping babies, the very one that threw up all over me multiple times, and them himself… the airplane, the floor, my clothes, his. We hop on moving sidewalks, back and forth, back and forth… passing the 9 hour layover by running in circles. literally.
Finally boarding the flight home, across from me sits a tiny little Irish woman, she says nothing but smiles.. her entire being is the warmest smile. I catch her throughout the flight watching us, our little dance.. me soothing the baby, patting the girl’s back.. offering snacks, drinks, movies. rocking and singing lullabies to get them off to sleep. I smile back at her.
the lights are dimmed while most of the plane snores, not me.. and not her.
the sick boy stirs, crying out.. uncomfortable, restless
and I rock, and I sing.. and I offer the breast.
I glance over and find her watching me, with a smile.. with her loving eyes
and I smile, feeling her love pour all over me.
I stare at my boy and I think about this little woman, how she too is a mother, of course she is.. I imagine how she’s watching me, seeing herself with one of her own babies.. and tears start to slowly fall. I’m witnessing this moment outside of my body, of this little man child so vulnerable, of this mother so exhausted, of this love and reserve of patience and strength that finds her in these wee hours. I feel this little crone woman loving us, loving me.. she’s sending me strength, she’s sending me her wisdom, she’s remembering the weight of her own babies in her arms, she’s reliving her mothering years in the same swaying language mothers around the world speak..
I’m crying, and smiling, and feeling so grateful to receive this silent witness.
Once the plane lands, I think that I’ll talk to her – ask her how many babies she has.. But there isn’t a chance, instead, she smiles at me… and we part ways, never having offered an exchange of dialogue, I left instead imparted with so much more.
* It’s 3:30am, my witching hour.
I’ve been sleep deprived for months now, it makes me an angry mother, a weary mother, a mother that suddenly gives no fucks, I can be patient and graceful in one moment, and I can be an unimaginable monster the next. Mostly though, I try to apologize for my grump, my frustration, my humanness. My hugs and kisses begging to make up for the rough way I handle one of them in a moment of despair.
Tonight though, I’ve slept for six hours, I could easily sleep for twenty more.. but six will have to do.
This man child, wee big year and a half boy wraps his arm around my head, pulling me in, holding my head to his chest.. cuddled into him
This thing with boys, it is something other.
I soaked in this sweet cuddle, and time sped ahead.. I saw him as a tall man, as tall as his dad
his arms enveloped around me. His scent changed from toddler to man, my wee baby all the same.
My heart, my goodness.. these moments.
The scene awaiting my return from the morning school run
it holds everything unseen, uncaptured..
where in a moment I saw us from a distance, from a memory
Standing in the kitchen, a frying pan of scrambled eggs going on the stove
a chair pulled up to the sink, while she sits, waiting for her face to be painted as a sugar skull
the boy asleep on my back, as I turn back and forth, stirring the eggs before they burn, painting details onto her face for her Halloween party at school.
mama with tired eyes, hair pulled back into a messy braid..
There it is, I suddenly see us. this moment. this dance. This cliche and perfection, this whirlwind of morning song..
How I wish that it could have been captured on camera forever, how I wish I could paint the vision that I saw
It was magic.
Instead, it was lived instead of captured – and then stood still in this still life by the sink, waiting for me to return home to.
I don’t ever want to forget these moments..