My house is full. My head is full. I get in my car and drive. I need space, and in the blue sky and white cloud I find it. I turn up the music and steer my car to calm, to peace. I search the sky until I get lost in its vastness. I only need a few seconds to get swallowed up in its big, blue belly.
I think about nothing and everything, thoughts spilling out willy nilly. I give them free reign in my head. Go, go!
I love the end of sticky sweet summer days when my kids come in from outside. They hurl themselves at me; their bodies warm from play and sun. There is dirt on their hands and ice cream rings around their mouths.
Yesterday they were in a race. Who’s going to tell me first? “Mommy! Look at what we found!” They thrust hydrangeas and black-eyed-susans under my nose shouting, “Smell them! Smell them!” I bury my face in them and gasp at how good they smell. They giggle and I find a vase to put them in. They whine when I slide the glass door closed and tell them to get ready for bed.
After they’re tucked in, after they’ve surrendered to sleep this is when I know I’m a mother. I check on them every night before it’s my turn to go to bed. I walk softly into their rooms to make sure they’re covered, to kiss their faces. I lean over and breathe deeply hoping to catch what’s left of their baby selves. If I squeeze my eyes shut I can still see my daughter’s newborn head turned to the side, her lips folded in half under the weight of her chubby cheek. There isn’t a trace of baby in my six year old now. My cartwheeling, wide-eyed, sassing six year old. Thumb firmly in mouth and blankets pulled to his chin my three year old has slept like this since he was an infant. It lingers with him not ready to leave just yet. As I stand there, careful not to pull them from sleep, motherhood settles on my shoulders. Will they know how much I love them? Will they see through my bad days and mistakes to my heart and know there isn’t a force great enough to separate them from me? Will they know? Will they see? Will they know? Will they see?
I drive until I remember that it’s a wide world we live in. I find a spot in the sky that I make my own. I fit here, I think. My responsibilities fly out the open window one at a time. Mother, wife, friend, worker, cleaner, schedule keeper… I open my hands and let my questions go. They buzz and flit, finding their own spot in the vastness. My thoughts slow. I float in blue sky and white cloud until my titles and badges return to me, an honor, landing safely, before I park my car in the driveway and go home.