A few nights ago, I lay beside my younger son in his bed talking a bit before he went to sleep. He had gotten quiet and hesitant, wanting to tell me something but worried about my reaction. He even got a bit tearful and then said, “I think you get very alone when we are not with you.” It was heavy on his mind and something with which he had been struggling.
I hugged him and said, “I do get lonely. It is true. But it is like your iPod, parts of me are just on pause until you guys comeback. But, I do fill the time with other things.”
He then got quieter and asked, “But who do you talk to?”
I laughed, “Some weekends I barely talk to anyone. I don’t watch TV or turn on the radio. But, in honesty, I like the silence sometimes.”
The conversation made me consider how I spend my time and why I do certain things on the weekends my kids are with their dad. Is it simply to stay busy? Do I just keep my hands and mind focused on tasks and chores to keep from being distracted or thinking about the quiet and the space? Or, have I learned to be in the space and find contentment? When my first son was born, my father asked me what I wanted for him in life. I suppose most would answer happiness or health. I responded that I want my children to be content. Life cannot always be happy or painless. It will not be easy or without strife, but I hope for contentment. When each day is done, and they lie their heads upon their pillows, do they find grace in their day and ultimately their lives? I hope for the same for myself. And I am learning to enjoy the flow of my life and find a rhythm of my own. Like an orchestral piece, there are times that the wind section falls away, less obvious in the syncopation. The flutes, trumpets, clarinets, oboes and saxophones are never completely silenced. In the next movement, they return with clarity and distinction, unmistakable. Thus is the rhythm of motherhood for me. For brief and predictable spaces, my sons shift out of the physical reality of my day-to-day, and we have simple text messages and phone calls. But, my thoughts are constantly with them, like the echoing of past stanzas. But they return and the rhythm changes. While I could dwell upon the absences and the lacking, I can also find a new rhythm and build upon the uniqueness of our family time. I miss the boys with an intensity, but that is my burden. And I can pause and find a contentment in making homemade mustard, sewing a quilt, washing their clothes, planting flowers along the front pathway and enjoying our cats. In two days, they boys come home and we may a ruckus, a mess, laugh and talk. We eat and do homework and snuggle and they share they stories. There is no pause, no hesitation, no adjustment or reacquaintance necessary. It is just a new movement and fresh rhythm.