Caleb is in Kindergarten. I don’t like saying that sentence because that means that all three of my babies are in full-time school. That means that the diapers are gone and college for Natalie is right around the corner. Ok, maybe it’s high school – but you know what I am saying. Time is slipping through my fingers.
But I’m not all “darkly lit rooms” and “rainstorms” over here in Long Island. In fact, there are moments where I find myself watching my children and feeling absolutely overcome with stillness. It’s an odd sensation. I’ve spoken about this before on the blog several times, but I am someone who flutters on occasion with mania. My neurologist has told me that I “present as someone who has adult ADD” and I suppose that makes sense. I’m a little bit of everywhere … at least my mind is. So, when I get very still and when my mind suddenly quiets, I can’t help but notice it because it’s an usual feeling. The quiet is deafening… but in those moments I can also SEE what is happening very clearly. And last night, I found myself in a quiet moment.
I was sitting next to Caleb as he worked on his homework. This post isn’t about whether or not children should have homework in Kindergarten. It’s one sheet a night. It’s completely doable and he loves it. There’s no fighting in my house. He BEGS to do his homework and I love to sit and have the time with him. Homework time is bonding time for us. So, yes, we enjoy doing homework in Kindergarten. (hopping off stool)
Anyway, as he was working on cutting and gluing and matching and counting, I just sat and watched him. He was so serious. He really wanted to get everything right. Caleb loved using all his new tools. He was so excited about his new abilities and I was just captivated by it all. The newness of the experience. Four weeks ago, my son couldn’t do any of what he was doing, but last night, he was carefully working through the problem and getting it right.
At one point – between scissor snips and glue drags – I realized that I was doing nothing but watching him.
I wasn’t figuring out dinner or trying to schedule a business call or trying to remember what that last contract said or pulling up a text from an old friend. I was just sitting there and watching him work his magic. And it was motherhood in its simplest form.
At that moment, I thanked God for my life.
I wasn’t on a yacht. I wasn’t in Paris walking around taking pictures of the Eifle Tower. I wasn’t strutting around town with the latest Chanel bag. I was sitting in my dining room watching my baby glue dots on a piece of paper and it was everything.
Everything else that we do – all this MESS that consumes the majority of our lives – it’s not our real lives. The stuff that I spend the MOST time on during my day is not what is IMPORTANT. Dots on paper and funny faces – those are what matter the most. But we all know that it’s just not that easy. Bills have to get paid. Mortgages are on the line. I have to WORK. I don’t have the luxury to sit and watch my children all day long. Believe me, I wish that I did.
I’ve written a thank you letter to my family before in the past. I’ve registered that the “nothing moments” are the most important moments of our days. My family even signs a Family Contract every year when the school year starts – do you do this?! It’s amazing! But I always fall back to the hustle and the grind and then it takes over my life. I always need a moment of mindfulness to wake me back up again.
Thank goodness for the quiet because it got me there last night. And I sunk right into it and it swallowed me whole. It reminded me what it meant to be part of a family that needs me and that loves me. And it also reminded me about how much I needed them.
Stillness. Quiet. Clarity.