one minute

One minute he was on the couch and the next minute, my youngest boy had somehow scurried off, his bare little feet making not a sound.

(He looks so tall lately.)

I said, Where'd Asher go ? He was just right here. And Ryan shrugged and laughed because talking about Asher just naturally makes a person giggle, even grown men. I went through the dining room and looked through the living room. No Asher. Just silence and the dark except for the Christmas tree lights.

I said, I bet he just up and went to bed!

And he had. There he was, under the covers, turned on his side, his eyes scrunched closed the way they do for the faking of the sleep. It hadn't been long enough for real sleep. He smiled a little and we said prayers and goodnight and then I tip-toed out even thought I didn't have to because obviously he wasn't going to protest. He was ready for bed, and he knew it.

(I'm just in the habit of night-time-soft-walking.)


He is growing up already at age three, just like his big brother, these little men trying so hard to spring past me. I think those mother-thoughts, about how fast it has gone already, and then it strikes me that we're about to start all over again. It will be a long time before this baby that's growing in me walks and talks and there's only a very small chance he or she will put themselves to bed at age three, I think that might be exclusive to the middle child in our particular family. And yet, this baby will walk and talk and make little independent decisions in the blink of an eye.

As any mother of grown children will tell you (me), one minute they're there and the next, gone, slipping silently away to life. It's as it should be, and so fast and so slow like a deep breath.


Today I'm having some time alone and I'm sitting here with soup that came with saltines and the saltines made me think of babies and how they love crackers. Or at least it seems like they do, since we hand them over so often for the distracting and gnawing.

I'm going to have a baby with no teeth. It feels like it's been a really really long time, so much has happened since Asher came. It awes me, how terribly hard and fast these early years in the physical trenches truly are. They are so hard and fast they are sometimes very very slow. And it's like we've just started to walk out of that stage and then BAM, we'll start again. I'm not lamenting this, only part of my mind is, but not my heart. I want this. I'm just observing the ebb and flow of my feelings, letting the anxiety wash over me and away, releasing me to anticipate the joy and the hope.

After all, that's what babies are. Joy and hope,
in silky skin.

And it will go so hard and fast and then the edges will blur and we'll look back and forget all the many details and the stresses. We'll be in the next foxhole, dodging the bullets of educational issues and emotional maturity and it will go on and on, trench after trench.

I know why that's okay. It's okay because I'm the one that will still see that pure innocence in their eyes even when it is not there. Mysteriously beautiful things are slippery things and we struggle to hold on to them all our years. But we mothers, we're given the gift to always see it, the light and the grace and the goodness of our children, no matter what. We watch them unfold through their eyes and we remember the scent of soft skin, the package of joy and hope. It blurs and fades, but it's here in us and so we're with them, on their side. That's how we get and stay there.

So I will take the sleep deprivation
and the constant constant constant needs,
even though it sounds daunting in the comfortable now.
And I will know how fast it all will go even when I don't
because of the hard
that can seem
and is
so slow slow slow.

We have to dig into the trenches to be with them and know their eyes
and then do the thing
that mothers do,
the always thing.

I'm a mother. I will lament the hard daily grind while I do the same with its opposite, the growing up so fast. And it will always be messy and hard and just exactly where I find the most joy and hope, in their eyes.

23 clicked right here to comment:

One Crafty Mother said...

This is so beautiful, Heather, and so very, very true.

And SIX eyes. WOW. :)

You are an amazing mother, you live in the truth and the light and the love.



Mitchell Brown said...

Beautifully written. Almost makes me want to talk to my wife about a third. Almost. But, still beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.

Angie said...

YOU are such a beautiful soul!

Sabrina said...

Your boys are just sprouting up! I'm so happy for you and all the beauty in your life right now.

(i am not happy I won't be able to see you tonight, but I'm just selfish because I like seeing you around... and your preggo belly!)

BaronessBlack said...

So true. As they say; the days are long, but the years are short!

Corinne said...

*sniff sniff....*
So beautifully written, Heather.
And you have a kid who puts himself to sleep???? My jaw is still on the floor :)

Mommy Mo said...

Did you write this spefically to me, because of my last post, where I spoke of wanting my two yr old to hurry up and grow up? And I cried and cried and cried about how hard motherhood is at times?

heather of the eo said...

Yes, my friend. I wanted you to see the joy and hope in their eyes. :)

No, seriously. It IS hard. It's crying hard. Lots of days.

And Corinne, I KNOW. I don't get it. Asher is one of a kind. This putting himself to bed thing helps me forget the constant crying as a newborn/infant ;)

Dangerous Linda said...

You describe "mothering" as if all mothers pretty much feel that way. I wonder if my mother ever felt that way about me? It's hard to believe that she did ...

And I see many moms who felt that way when their kids were little but not so much later ...

But, I feel the way you do about "mothering" still and my kids are in their twenties now.

Thank you for stirring my thoughts and my heart.

Heather of the eo said...

And you've got me thinking, Linda. Because I forget sometimes that just because I feel this way doesn't mean all mothers do. Or I blur the lines between keeping it to my own feelings and making it universal. Or something like that. :)
I'm sure some people lose that ability somewhere, to see that "thing" in their child's eyes, no matter what their age. Mostly, I just hope I don't lose that.
Thank you.

swonderful said...

this is lovely as always but hold the phone! or the press! or whatever. your three year old boy puts himself to bed?!?!?!?! he's amazing heather. like a little old soul. a little guy. what a guy.

MsPicketToYou said...

Hate to be all icky this way but I have to share this


as a way of saying: oh yes, i know. i know.

Ann Imig said...

I admire you so very very much.

Caroline said...

I'm sitting here at midnight, nauseous, six weeks pregnant with my second ans wondering how I'm going to do all this again...the pregnancy, the birth, the newborn stage. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It's a constant tug and pull, in more ways that I think we even acknowledge, but perhaps most acutely between the hard and the wonderful.

I've missed your words friend.

Becky said...

Yet another beauty! Just like you. LOVED THIS!

Carrie said...

Oh, just beautiful. This so describes where I am right now, my youngest will be one next week, and I love the part about the constant needs and exhaustion that makes it seem slow but when you look back, yes, it has gone so fast! Beautiful post! :)

deb said...

heavy heavy sigh.
I love this.

Jenn said...

"After all, that's what babies are. Joy and hope,in silky skin."

Loved this description!

Melissa said...

Heather, I've missed you so! Congratulations on your new little bundle of joy. Of course, you know to cherish every second of it because it goes so fast!

Come over to my place and we can chat!


Jamie said...

THIS was my most favorite post. I did not know there were actual words to describe what you just described. Thank you!

Ash said...

My heart is hurting over the fact that my youngest just lost his second tooth and will be five in March.

How the heck did that happen?

Soak it all in my dear. I love your thoughts on so fast, yet so slow.

So true!!

Dave said...

love these words, this truth

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