Monday, November 25, 2013

sorting out a mama's heart

One after one, I pulled clothes out of the laundry basket, folding, sorting, piling up the fabric that covers our naked lives.

First a tank top I wore as I lifted newborn babes from the pack and play beside my bed in the dark of midnight feedings.

Then a scrap of terry cloth embroidered with "ABC" that once was a hooded towel I wrapped cozy little ones in after baths. Now we use it to clean spills in the garage.

Now Spider-man Underoos that have passed from boy to boy, and are probably too small, but we all pretend not to notice.

Here's a the pink princess dress that we bought too big for our tiny girl. I never thought she would fit in it back then, but she still squeezes into it somehow these days.

I am folding up my life and sorting it out on the sofa.

Last week I told Mr. Fantastic I didn't know how to let go.

"Never look back. You can't look back. It's too painful," he said.

But my head seems to be stuck here, rubbernecking, trying to catch one more glimpse of the beautiful past.

My youngest has turned five and my oldest is about to turn ten. I want to see it all one more time; to feel a sleeping baby's steady breathing on my shoulder, to hear a squeaky toddler ask to be held, and to laugh as a tiny feet kick inside my belly.

But we can't look back now, can we?

On Friday I begged that man I love to take us all away on Sunday. Maybe if the six of us got in the car and just headed for the mountains we could outrun time and save ourselves from the evil way our days slip off over the horizon behind us.

Like characters in one of those sci-fi shows he loves so much, we could become beyond-time travelers, never leaving this exact moment, forever frozen in right now.

It would be horrible, of course, to never know who my children are meant to become someday. But a mama's heart is tempted by the thought of never having to say goodbye to the children who build her heart one breath, one word, one tiny kick, one loving moment at a time.

We won't be driving to the mountains, though. And we aren't in a sci-fi show. But my heart is bigger on the inside than it looks like it ever could be from an outside view.

I don't travel through time and space, but I do travel through conversations about who won the World Series in baseball history and how we all might live on Mars in the future.

This love I feel for four humans that were created inside my body has created me into a woman who holds the past more precious than all the riches in the world, who carries the present as gently and carefully as she can manage, and who smiles at a future that holds joy untold as our family becomes all God desires us to be to one another.

It's true. I don't know how to let go, and it is terribly painful.

But an aching heart is a small price to pay for a love so grand and glorious.

I finish folding the laundry and I peek in at sleeping children one more time.

Then I call it a night and crawl under my covers. A cold rain falls outside, but we are all safe, dry and warm in here.

Tomorrow, we begin again...