At around 6 pm, the kids were all calmly reading, so I thought I’d take a small nap before the kids went to bed. I cozied up with a fuzzy blanket, fell asleep right away, while the neat, clean kids read books quietly, the whole time. The kids said their prayers and put themselves to bed. I awoke refreshed, and rested…
…Said No Mom, Ever!
Who am I trying to kid? Reality runs a different race around here.
Instead, I dealt out bowls for Cheerios, smooth and fast, like a blackjack pro. Spoons flashed, a blur of lightening on the table. Watch out for flying cups! Good thing they are plastic. Milk spilled where? And that is ENOUGH sugar, Mister-I-Don’t-Care-If-I-Have-To-Go-To-The-Dentist-Again. Did you really spill milk on her homework? Well, it’s not the graphing calculator, so we’re fine. Prayers, anyone?
At around 6 pm, dishes were piled high. Dishwasher broken again! The kids were nowhere to be seen. Backpacks and lunch boxes and homework papers were scattered all over the living room. This seemed the perfect time to sneak off and sleep for a few minutes. I should have hidden in the closet. I cozied up with the unfolded but clean laundry piled all over my bed, closed my eyes, and drooled like a leaky faucet.
Then I heard them. In my drowsy state of semi-consiousness, I heard the pitter patter of small feet. No one was yelling, so I kept on dreaming…I can sleep through this. More feet entered the room. Clickety click, the dog’s toenails crossed the hardwood floor. With a few squeaks on his tennis ball, he scampered away like an aged buffalo across the prairie, hoofs beating. Two Small Someones climbed onto the bed. One began to giggle. One began to jump. The giggler joined in the jumping, and bounced the other kid off the bed. A chorus of laughter ensued, and the voices faded away into the kitchen. Meanwhile, Child Number Three climbed into bed and covered me with her cherished blanket.
And she began to sing.
Her little hands tangled into my hair, rubbing my head like just like I have done for her whenever she is sick, or needing extra love. Gently, she smoothed out the snarls, and caressed my sagging jowls. “Swing low, sweet chariot, comin’ for to carry me hoooooome…” Her voice lilted through my foggy brain and I drifted, asleep in the softness of the melody and the laundry. I didn’t fully awaken even as she began to sing Christmas carols. Joy to the World, Silent Night, We Three Kings… Every song she had heard lately, during Advent and Christmas, rang out softly and clearly in her little cherub’s voice.
She mothered me, just like she mothers her ragged pink stuffed dog. I felt loved. Cherished.
Just then, in my dream-state, I knew the two bed-jumpers had returned. They began to jump and laugh and chortle and steal my bath-towel pillow. Oh, how the Lullaby Girl howled! Fiercely and Instantly, she was upon them. She leapt from the bed, a fa-la-la-la-la trailing behind her like tinsel from a tree, and she chased those two big siblings right out of the room. Scolding them for all she was worth. A roaring tigress, defending her sleeping kitten.
My eyes opened completely, and I saw her face then, peering closely into mine. “It’s all right, Mom.” she whispered. “They’re gone now. They won’t be back. Close your eyes.” Again she lifted her voice in song “…The First Nowell, the Angels did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay….”
Late that night, as I drove off to the airport, I remembered the touch of her little hands on my forehead. And her ferocious defense of her sleeping Mom.
This was what being a Mom is all about, and I wondered at the mystery of it all. Motherhood is a tumbled mix of Love and Ferocity, Lullabies and Scoldings, a full kitchen sink and a shepherd, lying in the fields among her sheep.
Silent night, Holy night.
Motherhood is oh, so very lovely.