I am the cogs of the machine of “frantic school morning rush” and I never have stopped since my eyes popped open this morning. I put my deodorant on and contacts in while 3 little people's saucer-eyes filled with life watch, and their mouths move non-stop. But my sleepy brain is not yet functioning totally and I am not positive I recall anything they are saying. I am fading in and out of reality still sleepily avoiding the feeling that there’s not enough hours in the day to be a catcher in the rye and change the world. "Must have coffee" is the only thought in my foggy head.
Ahhh...the frantic rush of school mornings at our house is (admittedly) intensified by the fact that I try to let my children sleep for as long as humanly possible while still having time to scarf down their breakfast, get ready for school, and dive into the van as I jerk it into reverse and jolt out of the driveway like a whiplash-inducing bumper car at the amusement park.
Ahhh...then, there's also the image of me in the mornings walking briskly into school with brood in tow - a brood who is not all that interested in trying to keep up with my longer, urgent and purposeful stride. They would rather dally with the morning sun's glorious dapples, and I daily admit to myself that I would rather join them...and often do...which is why we are almost always late. Rather than drop them off at school to learn to color in the lines, I would rather sip coffee and soak them up like pancakes in syrup...watch them creatively nibble their muffins into shapes while giggling big about little things adults often forget to marvel about. But alas, there I am at morning drop off: Frazzled hair, big-toothed smile, distracted eyes, heart too big for my own capabilities and organizational abilities…I alone am too much for myself to handle. I am wearing running gear that I usually wear a couple days in a row because I never actually make it around to running in it.
As usual, I felt a little frantic after the rush of getting 3 little people awake, fed, clothed (in their own clothing), cleaned, snacks packed, teeth brushed, papers signed, guitars packed, notes written, hair brushed, shoes found, shoes tied, shoes untied, shoes tied, jackets zipped, backpacks packed, hugs given, etc. As usual, we had about 30 seconds before the kids would be declared "late" for school.
And that is when I uttered IT! At the moment before we parted ways at school and we hugged, words slipped out with an underlying urgency and purpose: "I love you. You're a buyer". Those are the words I uttered to my children as I dropped them off at school this morning. I was reminding each of them that they were “a buyer” for lunch that day since we were rushing around and I didn't remind them prior to that...and I just can’t stand the thought of one of them not having lunch.
It’s not as if the staff and faculty at their school would let them starve. It's also not that there is no valuable lesson in learning increased responsibility (the students have to remember to raise their hand at morning lunch count to be "a buyer" and thus have a lunch that day). That’s all true and good and cerebrally makes perfect sense…but emotionally, I think it's the image of my children feeling sad and hungry and holding back tears perhaps at the thought that Mom let them down somehow...that brings a tightness to my throat. I think throughout my entire life my heart will feel like it’s being ripped out as my children experience disappointment, pain, hurt, loneliness, heartache, sadness, feelings of rejection, confusion, and cynical and disheartening awakenings they will have throughout their lives.
I have said a bazillion times to my children, "I love you", and focused my presence to mean it and show it in the most sincere and profound way I can comprehend. I want them to know they are loved every single day, and that I will never stop loving them - no matter what. But, then, often at that moment when we are about to part ways on some ordinary idle Thursday of our regular routine, I'm hit with emotions so fierce that I feel the frenzy and panic like the "mama cow" I recall from my childhood days on a farm. I swear she screamed like a human when her baby was taken for sale and slaughter. To sort through this emotion, I self-talk in my head (which on this particular morning is finally starting to partially function thanks to gulps of aforementioned coffee): " What if I walk out that door and something horrible happens to one of us, and we never see each other again?" What would I want my children to know about life and love and God, and me as a person? With what can I leave them when we part ways on Earth? If I had one message for them to hold onto, what would it be?" These are horrible, frantic, fleeting thoughts that I try to dismiss, yet I'm still consumed with the urge to impart some sagacious bit of advice just in case I’m not around any longer to do so in person. But, c’mon?! “You’re a Buyer”? That's it!? That's what logorrhea blurted out of my mouth when I had all these deep thoughts beneath?! Surely I could come up with something better for a statement that potentially could be my last utterances!?
So there you have it. "I love you. You're a buyer". Wrapped up in that statement is this mother's never-ending love and concern for her children, coupled with the knowledge that they will experience hurt and fear in their lives. But, in that split second as we say goodbye, it feels as if I could be a buffer for them; be that safety tubular surrounding that's on bumper cars at the amusement park. Perhaps I can soften the blow and absorb the force for my little bumper cars who inevitably will get bumped around in life. Perhaps I can help lessen the whiplashes of gutteral sorrow they will experience at some point in life. I know firsthand the beauty of the lessons and journey involved in being hammered by some storms…but...amidst the raging storms, if I could help them splash in the puddles or look up at the heavens and thank God for the rain …I’d do it over and over again. Even if it's something as simple as a gentle reminder of day to day occurrences to ease their minds for a brief moment. If I could whisper in the wind to them occasionally, I would.
As miniscule and unimportant as these motherly utterances sound on the surface, this is motherhood. Where somehow, the simple words and teary eyes of a mother hold oceanic depths of love for another. I pray that these words somehow will be their anam cara billowing out to swirl around my sweet babies for a lifetime. Perhaps if I emit these breaths and words of support enough times, they will become my children's bumper guard, the blissful splash in the puddle, the whisper in the wind, the joy coiling medusa-like in their hair, the rays of hope dappling in the morning sunshine that they need when I am not around some day and they are feeling lost or alone, or hungry for something more.
To my three uniquely incredible children who bring meaning to my life, I am teary-eyed as I type: "I love you. You're a buyer"!