Last night was a pretty quiet night here in the Gelato House. With the school year winding down, The Children didn’t have homework to fight over (and if they did, all three of us follow a ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy this time of year), we had no after school practices or lessons to run off too; I mean we basically had….nothing…to do besides bug each other and complain about dinner and watch American Ninja Warrior. Evenings like that always sort of throw me off balance; while it’s nice to have a chill night, it makes me feel a little antsy; like I’m not being a productive enough human because I’m not yelling GET YOUR SHOES ON IT’S TIME TO GO 37 times in five minutes. (And really, how productive am I being if I have to repeat something 37 times?) I had already declared it was Clean Out The Fridge week, so dinner was leftovers; the laundry was done; the house was clean. Daughter was playing in her room quietly. Son, after my repeated efforts to quell his proclamations of boredom by offering to play catch or go to the park or play cards or Yahtzee, rejected my ideas and instead sat on the sofa and read his book. So…with nothing pressing to do….I turned on my favorite Pandora station, grabbed my Vanity Fair, and read right alongside him. And as we sat there, side by side, with our chosen reading material, I realized how productive I actually was being. This moment of silent solitude; this quiet, yet effective time spent with my Oldest while my Youngest was happily occupying herself with nary a device in sight…it was so much more productive than running around and feeling overwhelmed; this notion of being busy for busyness sakes always trying to smother the beauty that lies in a book and a sofa and a Son.
As The Children grow older, these years I have with them seem so much more valuable and precious because of Time’s stubborn defiance to slowing down. And as Summer once again approaches as another school year becomes a thing of the past, I am desperate to find a way to enjoy all the minutes, all the hours, all the days. It’s almost as if a Ghost of Gelato Mama Future is hovering above me, whispering in my ear to slow down and look around. She’s telling me to hug them tighter, laugh with them longer, listen to them more intently, be gentle with my words to them and to be graceful in my actions. I’m doing my very best to honor the murmurs gracing my ears. Because while I love that My Children get to play baseball and take swim lessons and go to soccer and try football and play with their friends and always have another idea, another thing they want to try, I also want them to be able to sit in silence and appreciate how very valuable it is to be present in a moment that most would not even stop to notice. I want them to believe in the magic of normalcy; to relish in it’s mundane beauty. I want them to grow older and remember a Mama who sat on the sofa and listened to their stories while tickling their backs.
I clearly don’t always succeed at this ideal image I have of the Mother I want to be. I obviously get frustrated and impatient and yell and feel defeated as My Children can drive me absolutely mad and they are experts with all the buttons on all the parts they can push. But I am determined to keep trying to diminish my faults with my strengths. And I can be called a lot of things and I’m certain I have but the most important name I get called each day is Mama and the most important thing I can do is just keep trying, each day, to be better.
So here we are, at the edge of Summer, peering over the cliff. It somehow feels cute to be excited about all the long days that loom ahead, knowing full well The Children will be bored within two hours of waking on their first day of freedom. But after we jump in and climb up the other side to the early fall days of another school year beginning, we’ll be staring wistfully back at Summer, wondering how it all went by so quickly. And while I know the next eleven weeks or so will be full of laughter and fighting and yelling and fighting and adventures and fighting and boredom and fighting, I’m going to do my best to…enjoy?…survive?…soak up?…no. I’m going to do my best to just be present. To believe in the magic of normalcy.
I think there might be a book or two in our future this summer.
May the force be with you.
We’re in it together.