Family Business

I remember…

March 11, 2013
I remember… that moment when both lines turned pink and the awesome responsibility of motherhood threatened to engulf me. “I wasn’t ready!” I wanted to screech to the world. But a dream of a round headed blond boy on a sandy beach haunted me and I knew there could only be joy. I didn’t realize how much that joy would cost.
I remember… the panic of another baby so soon after the first fading into a reckless infatuation at the sight of a rounded profile in a blurry black and white image captured on old technology in a room that smelled of antiseptic and poverty… We couldn’t afford this. We couldn’t live without him.
I remember… wide eyed, sloppy grins and gentle mornings spent learning together this thing called love. He forgave so much while I grew so slowly.
I remember.. his face, red and squished closed with crying, brown eyes questioning a pain he didn’t understand while his chubby fist curled tightly against my tired, full breast as we clung to each other in the wee hours of the morning. We were so tired. But somehow, we had strength enough for that moment.
I remember… the day when he wouldn’t go. When he clung to me in terror, tears on his round, red cheeks as I held him close and carried him into a place without children and we did not apologize for his presence. That day we learned we could both trust me.
I remember… a defiant stance that declared to the world he wanted Daddy. Always Daddy. Until the road trip where Daddy stayed home. We snuggled for two days and all the broken places were mended while we learned to walk together.
I remember… The terrible, awful day when I called and called, walking and running up and down familiar streets, until my heart felt as though it would burst.  Then he came in through the back door as if nothing had happened and all I could do was collapse to the floor in tears and thank God for bringing him home while dimpled hands patted my face and his little voice reassured me that he was OK. Panic fading,  breathing returned to normal while his weight kept me anchored in that moment. A second of loss amplified by fear into an eternity of searing, horrific possibilities.
I remember… Over-sized t-shirts and wandering down the street to climb tall things because he was “Pidah-man, Mom!” while my heart skipped beats and I thanked God again for the resilience of children.
I remember… dusty afternoons spent throwing hay bales, talking about horses,and riding through a desert forest on tired ponies. Our lives mingling beyond mother and son. Being to being in the midst of God’s creation while the girl in me met a friend I didn’t expect.
I remember… good deeds misunderstood. Friendships shattered. Lies told. And hands, not so small, reaching out to be held, needing a sympathetic heart to hear, a warm voice to bolster confidence broken.
The greatest pleasure and the deepest pain of a mother can be found in the remembering. I cannot forget who they are. I cannot relinquish the vision for who they can become. I will not cease to fight for them when they cannot see the point of fighting for themselves.

I know who they are when they forget.

Tonight they reached down and hugged me. A chin rough with stubble scuffed my cheek and a cheerful man voice echoed, “Love ya, Mom” in Mandarin as he wandered off to bed. Long arms reached down to circle around tired shoulders when the younger boy made amends before bedtime and my soul found rest after a day of wrestling with testosterone and sugar highs.

Tomorrow will come. Another day to remember. Another moment to savor or to endure.

This is, by far, the hardest thing I have ever loved doing.

Thank you, Abba. For these gifts.

Help me to remember.

  • Amen, Heidi.

  • I love this kind of family business.
    I remember when our son came home from play with muddy bare feet.
    The mud in the field ate his shoes – sucked them right off his feet.
    All he could do was come home crying. We went out together and rescued the shoes from the “quick sand” mud-sucking field.
    Of course this was over 40 years ago – before you knew him.

  • Doom

    I wish I could remember such sweet things, or at least not what I do remember and know. And you say you are not a minister?

    “Mother Mary comes to me, singing words of wisdom. Let it be”

  • @Kathi, amen, indeed. 🙂 God is so good.

    @Rocky ~ I can see that! His boys would have done the same thing. Love to hear your memories of him. He was quite grown up by the time I met him.

    @Doom ~ I never said I wasn’t a minister. I just didn’t say what context. Let it be, those are sweet words.