Posted by: alegra22 | January 29, 2010

in the company of angels

Sometimes I think all the noise and annoyances of parenthood, the fatigue, the daily chores, the small and large battles of wills, are put into place for our own good. They are the buffers. If I am honest, I think that if my moments as a mother were not coated in a certain amount of bitter, the sweet would kill me.

 As I curled up in bed with my daughter tonight, her hand reaching out to me in the dark, she started making a clicking sound with her mouth. I thought it was her teeth grinding – she does this when she sleeps and it causes my skin to crawl.

“Zaviera,” I said, “Is there something in your mouth?” 

She smiled and pulled out a tiny plastic daisy that had fallen off one of her hair bands. She handed it to me.

“My flower,” she said. I held the daisy and thought about how my daughter had been happily rolling a flower around between her teeth.  When I was a child I used to daydream about a field of flowers that I could rest in. In that field the world was perfect. It contained a peace that I associate with the presence of God. Daily I watch my daughter walk through a world that is still a safe field. Her mind is full of flowers that she plucks and pulls apart. She scatters them without worry. She places them in her mouth and clicks them against her teeth. Every day she brings one home to me and I hold it for a moment trying not to think about it wilting and how quickly the moments slip by.  

I was not prepared for parenthood. I really wasn’t. Before I became a parent I spent years trying to find my way back to the childhood wonder we all lose to one degree or another as we emerge into adulthood. I thought that there had to be some sort of balancing act that allowed us to function as responsible adults without losing our joy.

I imagine we have all heard a parent say, “My child has helped me to rediscover the world.” Or, “I’ve been a given a second childhood with my children.”

And it is true. I have found the balance of joy and responsibility hidden in the one place I thought it impossible – motherhood.  But what I didn’t realize is that finding that balance meant living with an exquisite pain. Each moment they bring me is a birth and a death. As I love my children I have to continually let them go and it is difficult beyond words.

As I sit here, with Joaquin sleeping next to me, I know that tomorrow I will grow impatient. The noise will get to me. Joaquin will have gas, his cries will spiral down through my bones. Sol and Zaviera will pull on my ears with their jangling demands. I will take a deep breath and say, “I can’t hear you when you use a whiny voice.” The moments will domino into one another. Beauty, chaos, beauty, chaos, beauty, chaos…

Zaviera will say something that amuses me so much that the only way to get it out of my system is to do a little dance. I will find myself smelling Joaquin’s baby skin and tickling his forehead to make him smile. Sol will herd our crazy little tribe with a sense of order that sometimes makes me wonder just how old his soul really is. Dan will sing off-key. At a certain point, most likely when the heat of the day makes our small home even smaller, I will retreat back into the bedroom to write. I will take my mind to a different reality. I will distract myself with the things that need to be done to support our future, to nurture our present. At some point I will declare to my husband, “Thank god for daycare!” He will respond by nodding and sighing as another disaster erupts in the living room. I will put away the computer and go make another cup of coffee to get through the hours until bedtime.

And beneath it all, my heart will be hurting with how close to heaven my children continue to bring me.

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Responses

  1. And that picture truly says it all. I love reading these bouquets of earth-mother-goodness. You’re grace personified. And your children are definitely angels.

  2. Good morning. I just wanted to say “HI!”

  3. I love the line “if my moments as a mother were not coated with a certain amount of bitter, the sweetness would kill me”. How true about life in general. We all search for the sweetness and forget that the bitter is what makes life sweet. Good to remember…again your writing is so beautiful and deep.

  4. Sometimes you make me feel like a babboon scribbling with a crayon, your words are so lush next to mine. Then I remember your smile and the flick of your wrist, and I love you.

  5. Amen. Again and again.

  6. So sweet. So much joy! I’m happy that you have this in your life.

    My baby boy woke me up this morning, after he’d found his way in during the night, and said “thanks for cuddling me”. Awww.

    Sweet.

  7. Nice, Alegra. I don’t know how you manage to dampen the external distractions to find time to write. For me, only the solace of the night brings the quite I need to focus.

    –John


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