Friday, November 15

The Success of Love

I am the mother of three boys.

I'm the mother of wrestling matches and dart gun wars, of broken ear buds and chipped front teeth, of ripped out knees, pocket knives, and half-assembled structures strewn about to pierce my calloused feet. I'm the mother of noise, of energy, of body odor and tears.  Of towels never hung, competition never ending and milk never enough.  I'm the mother of all the toilet seats left up and all the laundry thrown down.  And this is how I succeed -- by loving the people I've been given.

They're alive and they make me also. Their hearts beat for different passions, but they're beating, strong and daring.  Sometimes they argue and fight.  Sometimes they break and bend.  Sometimes they're more wonderful than I can bear.

And sometimes they're crazy loud.

I never knew it; the noise was the water I swam in when they were all home with me, all talking at once while we assembled science kits and multiplied fractions and (on my bravest days) painted paper mache. Three of them calling, "Mom! Mom!" daily was my normal and my base.  It wasn't until life shifted in this great drama, when those voices moved from our home to the schools that I realized the level of chaos I had thrived in.

People would ask, "How do you do it?"  I'd just gaze back a blank stare. Do what?  Live?  Teach? Breathe?  Isn't it just like you?  One thing at a time.  Intention and Care.   Did it look like I was merely surviving?

The chaos was the proof of the life.  It was the blood in my veins, the wind in our sails that pushed us wildly into the day.  It was unfinished and rough, fluid and full, drive and pluck and verve and vim. And the day I saw them off it stopped.

Today: The hours in my day without them are longer than the hours with. And in those hours I fill space meant for noise and fire and kick with thought and muse and words. I teach to different ears.  I give to different hearts.  And when the afternoon air grows thick and still I can only wait for them to return.

As much as I, abstract sequential, love the quiet, the study, the calm and order -- I love the moment they come back, bags tossed, cupboards thrown open, hunting for bite and bread and way and wont. Throwing off that other day, that other place, and breathing deep the air I saved just for them.

Today I am grateful for quiet moments, meaningful work, for the distraction of purpose.  But greater still are those three voices who can call my name and I know I get to succeed again.