I went upstairs to straighten beds and tidy up a bit while the olders are at school and the youngers were otherwise occupied. I ventured into my son’s’ room and saw the softness of his comforter, the sunken-in center of my oldest’s feather-soft pillow where his head had just rested earlier this morning. I couldn’t help myself but lay upon it for a while and watch his ceiling fan on slow swirl about overhead, casting shadows on the walls as it blew a sweet-smelling breeze my way.
My little ones continued playing in the other room, not noticing my mini-break in which I contemplated life ten years from now, when his bed is empty, he’s off to college living his adult-life away from home. My heart burned at the thought of him not being with me everyday. How can I let him go? Why can’t he stay little forever? These thoughts swam around in my murky head while I fought tears from forming as I held his stuffed animals and groaned in motherly agony.
I looked around the room, putting myself into his shoes, looking at all of his things, his trophies, his toys, posters, shelves, games. I could smell him on the sheets, seeing his little-boy-for-not-too-much-longer clothes lumped on the floor exactly the way they came off when he changed, like shedded-skin.
Recalling my almost overflowing laundry-pile as it is, I can’t imagine it not being there tomorrow, or the next day, or in ten years. As much as I despise the repetitious laundry, chores, and constant cleaning, I can’t imagine my nest being empty with no one to care for, either.
Perhaps the next time I bend over to pick up another stray toy under foot while gritting my teeth, and mumble something quietly ugly under my breath when another piece of clothing is left shedded in the middle of the floor, or sigh at yet another mess made under the dinner table just after I’ve vacuumed, I’ll recall the sadness I felt moments ago at the idea of a naked-without-my-children home, and relive those chills, drink in that anguish, that yearning, and remember to count my many blessings, big or small, they won’t be here forever.
Even the diapers, crumbs, and laundry.
(This mama ache is fresh on my mind today. Dusting this off, as it was originally written March 3rd, 2010.)
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