My kids and I took a walk last night. My oldest, Mack, was chattering without a breath. The kid must be a fish. He can just go on, like a big run-on sentence without taking a breath, and I listen intently to the parts I’ve never heard before. I respond kindly and authoritatively to the parts about his little brother that could be skipped, and I tune out a bit when he begins to pontificate about vehicular attributes that I can barely stand to hear about again.
Mostly, I take walks with my kids because I love walking at night. I love how quiet and safe it feels. Yes, I realize that sounds a little nutty, but I have always loved walks at night. The world is dark, and it feels like you are a little bit alone. You can hear things you haven’t. You don’t dodge bikes and cars and children. My kids and I just walk down the street. My oldest on a scooter, whizzing ahead and behind and as in this moment I am describing, scooting beside me chatting, as if there is a whole string of words attached to each other, that must come out because there’s no more room to store them inside his body.
And my youngest has his arm around my waist, telling me he hates walks. And then he darts over to pick a flower for me or a long stem off a weird plant and makes up a game with it. “You want to kick the rocks like soccer balls on the way home, mom?” The answer is no. I just want to walk and listen and watch them. They are fascinating and busy and electric. And many times I play the games my Zoom makes up, but last night I didn’t want to. I just wanted to be in my body, walking in a rhythm and listening.
And Mack chattered on, and I came in and out of the one-sided conversation, and watched his beautiful outline of a face in the dark. Wow, when did he get so big? His face is as big as mine! He looks a little like me. He and I still have that special connection… and then I heard him switch subjects, and I jumped out of my adoring mode to hear him say, “Well, I think you handle things really well with me, mom. You know me, and you know how to handle me. But I realized I give you a hard time. I used to think you were so sweet, and you could handle it, so I would give you more trouble. But I’m trying to work on that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
If you need a moment to re-read that, I’ll give it to you here. I am a fast processor, but I had to replay it in my head for a moment too. Had I fallen and hit my head? Was I on morphine? Can I get a little more of that dripping stuff, nurse? This vision is really phenom, so don’t wake me for a little longer. Leave the concussion. I promise we’ll deal with that as soon I finish hearing what my son told me.
Yah, funny stuff happens every day. I am never bored. I never know what will happen next. I never know what challenge will embrace or squash me as mother. And I take responsibility for my part in all of that.
But that really blew me away. Sometimes I look at this child with so many challenges and so many gifts. And I wish for him to have everything that’s available. I have literally spent half my waking hours since he was born trying to figure out what that even is! And last night I knew something… he was going to be ok. If at eleven years old, he can give me any sign that he is self-aware, open, honest, kind and loved enough that he can share that with me… well, I know he will be ok. And so will I.
For just a moment, and you know I am all about those, I felt triumphant. I felt gleeful and full. Being a parent is the hardest thing in the world, but sometimes, sometimes we get a glimpse of the best parts of these beautiful people we call our children. Sometimes, we see the really good stuff that makes us wonder why we’ve ever complained—until they break my grandma’s porcelain parakeet she handed to me on her deathbed as she sang out “Happy Birthday”. But you understand, even if I get off track. We are lucky to be able to experience the best and the worst. And we are most blessed if we understand that at the end of either one of these extremes is the other or something in between. All together it’s called parenting. But today, this memory is called the best. And I get to revel in that today.
Short and sweet, just like what I could be if I really tried.
Love to you and yours today! Cheers to all the best moments!