From the first fast beating breathy-cry, my life belonged to him. Seven pounds, a few odd ounces and almost 2 feet of pure, creamy-happy baby snores and accidental smiles. I had been the sun reveling in my own brilliance. And then my son came and I was his moon. I revolved around him. I nourished him with breast and heart and he sustained me with soft smile and finger touch and coo.
He was my everything. As little legs transformed from immobile to chubby-knee crawling, and quickly then to running, his curiosities grew and he left trails of his investigations throughout the house. Add two more little boys in the years to come and my life had flipped upside down. The cracks that used to be void of clutter were now littered with blocks and cars and the occasional dirty diaper that hadn’t yet made it to the trash.
I reminisced of the time when moments pulsed with magic. Each moment drawing its own breath and filling my lungs with poetry. When life seemed simpler. Less messy. About me. When I was the sun and everyone my moon. When impulse was unchallenged and creativity sparked me from sleep instead of the waking children with milk-crusted faces wanting more.
Now my hours were like walking a labyrinth. I was that little metal ball dodging walls and mounds of stuff that tripped me up and stood obnoxiously in my way. Between feedings and play, I was washing and folding, pureeing and pumping. My heart beat for my children. I loved each of them so, but felt the marrow of my motherhood sucking me dry. Where was I? How did I fit into this?
One early-summer evening when the crickets chirped and the moon shone bright though my window, I sat on the cold wood floor among the mounds of clean clothes, folding. I glimpsed at the empty toy box and dreaded the mess that plagued the floors and halls that I let disturb my peace. Left corner to right, halved and halved again, my attention a million miles from the clean blanket I just laid in the ever-evening “done” pile. My heart leapt as I found the corner by the front window. The one blocked in by couch. To perfectly hide mischievous boys hiding with a million bouncy balls, ambushing mom and dad until their laughter flooded the room. A sudden silence. Out-of-breath boys from those machine-gun laughs. All of those books in disarray. The ones that prove my boys intelligence and intrigue. The ones that have slobber-wrinkled pages and a worn number 5, because they want to know so badly how fireflies work.
“It’s magic,” I tell them. Because science is a very alive magic in its own rite. And sometimes I don’t want them to have an explanation for everything, I just want them to be mesmerized. Like I used to be. Like I have to choose to be.
The magic hasn’t left, I’ve just misplaced it among the piles of rubble I have mistook for mere work, but now see as redemptive. As I finish picking up overturned chairs and random boxes from their “city.” I choose to let the magic be what it is - messy, selfless, and very unaware of its own brilliance. All I have to do is lay myself aside and I can see it so clearly. The way my boys do every moment of every day. Tomorrow, I reassure myself, I will be in this magic with them. Making a glorious mess beside them. Redeeming the moments and making time stand still once again.