he stands at the potty willing it to go. a few minutes pass as i stand outside the doorway, around the corner pretending i’m not watching. his shy little eyes dart back to see that indeed i’ve kept my promise. not to see. i smile.
tousled hair and bare little bottom he stands at the porcelain, ready to become a big boy. up on his tip toes he fights to hold his balance, refusing to sit down, desperate to be big like his brothers. inevitably he turns, calls my name though i happen to be right there…and tells me in his deepest biggest grown up boy voice: ‘mommy, it’s not working.’
my whole body smiles.
as a mom of three exceptionally healthy kids i take so much for granted.
not only do i take things for granted, but far too often i resent the little things. the tiniest gifts along the way. potty training messes and accidents on the floor… waiting twenty minutes for a little body to try to go and finally giving up. i sit down on the toilet seat to find it’s been peed on, again. clutter-strewn living rooms with trails of cars and pokemon cards and blankets and cheerios.
it’s a mess. this life.
and not just in our homes.
the last two weeks i’ve been focused on bigger things. much bigger, grownup things. because when your child is sick and you know he’s really sick, all you want is for them to be home throwing cheerios on the floor, pulling blankets off the couch making messes. when you hold them in your arms with temperatures rising above 106 degrees all you want is for them to be well.
and you spend hours in the doctors offices running test after test and holding their little bodies, racked with fever. and you know in your head they’re going to be just fine but your heart isn’t quite sure. because as soon as you let them in, the thoughts run wild. what if it’s this, what if it’s that… i look out the door of the lab and see the cancer center and think: oh my God, what if it’s that?
we’ve got real lives and real problems and real things to worry about. and if we don’t in our lives, somebody we care about does.
we’re dying. all of us, terminal. inside and outside and every which way. and we’re afraid to see. afraid to talk about it or touch it because what if we can’t fix it? what if we don’t know how to move on?
the good news in our house is my son is okay. we’re all finally getting back to okay. but these days have given me vision to see what i so often forget. the littlest biggest messes are the things i love the most about them. the gifts they give me every day of their childhood. their dependence. their reliance on me and their dad to love and care for them in a world full of sick. to help them. nurture them. teach, and love, and play with them.
the greatest job there is.
take a deep breath and remember what matters. the house will keep. life is in the midst of the mess. live in it.