Saturday, February 21, 2015

Morning mythology

There's this myth in motherhood, especially in the shared sisterhood of mother-writers, that if we get up early enough, we can work before our children are awake. I seek those dark, cloistered moments in my kitchen, huddled with a journal and a cup of something warm, scribbling my thoughts in the quiet of the open morning before the real day begins. Mornings are supposed to be empty and open and dripping with potential, like dewy grass or the coffee that is calling me with its gurgle-pit-pat as it collects in the pot. Morning is ready for something, for anything...and in the half-moment of quiet, if I stop and hold my breath, I feel the possibilities and almost believe them.

I could make cinnamon rolls and surprise everyone!
I could paint the laundry room!
I could go for a run before the snowstorm hits!
I could write the short story that's been rattling around my head for weeks and then let the kids help illustrate it!
I could get all my chores done early and then relax!

No matter how tired I am, especially on a Saturday, SuperMe takes over, beckoning me into the Realm of All The Things I Can Do. "Come on! Think of how productive we could be!" And I follow her. I can really do everything. For that moment, I am a regular mama demi-god...powerful, motivated, filled with unstoppable creativity, with energy for days.

And then a door opens. A toilet flushes, maybe, or the water runs long enough to arouse my suspicion. Instead of SuperMe, I hear a small voice in the hallway: "Mama?" and the quiet is over until tomorrow.

I know one day I will sit quietly all the time, all day, every day, and I'll long for their voices to call my name, to ask me to help them, to talk with me about what matters to them. I'll miss their hands (which are so small and occasionally sticky these days), coming to me full of drawings or dandelions or tiny stones they've found. I will long to hear someone ask me to read that awful library book one more time (well, maybe). I will wish, probably, that I was more in the middle of their worlds, the way I am now, when I sometimes wish to be somewhere else.

And so, this morning, with rumblings and rattlings and voices calling in the hallway, I choose to be grateful. I'm grateful for their noise, their mess, and their interruptions, because I choose to be. And all the other words in my head and the projects I dream about will have to wait for another moment, because in this moment, my children aren't likely to wait another second.