Being a Family

I am standing in the doorway of my house, holding a cup of coffee. I am looking outside at the darkening afternoon while Stevie Wonder sings behind me in the key of life. I see my second son wander aimlessly with a plastic sword in his hand. The sun has started to set, the air has just the right temperature and everything is beginning to have that near-shadowy look.

Everything feels serene and satisfied. I watch my boys do their random thing while neighbors walk by and wave.

I am not a white-picket fence woman. I am not a Neiman Marcus lady. I am not a rebellious post-punk or a neo-hippy trying to live free from “da man”.

I am still learning what kind of mother I am. I am still exploring what kind of lover I am. I am still curious about what kind of wise-woman I could become.

I don’t really tell cute and funny stories about my guys because although there are probably many stories to tell, I can’t remember them too well. Cute and funny moments are wonderful but they are fleeting. I enjoy those stories but it is moments like this; the serene, peaceful times when we are all moving independently yet somehow inexplicably together. This is what I remember most fondly.

As the sun disappears, the sky turns dusky, the air cools and my boys slowly come inside. I go about the house, lightly cleaning and attending to the 1001 minor importances of a reasonably harmonious life. We aren’t speaking much but it isn’t from being tired, feeling cross or a lack of desire to speak. We are quiet with one another because this is the time when we can simply BE with one another. There are no words more important than time spent together.

Now I kneel on the floor, writing this as my sons all perform their own quiet activities. I tell my eldest that the song playing (“Golden Brown” – The Stranglers) is one of his father’s favorite songs. One son asks to have the light turned on in his room. One son needs help carrying a milky bowl of cereal to the table. The eldest reads a book much too young for him.

I know that soon noise will follow motion and this particle of peace will evolve into any number of possibilities. Perhaps we will all run through the house screaming lines inspired from kiddy-flicks. Perhaps we will split up into factions that will vie for attention with ourselves. Perhaps I will get tired of them and banish them all to their rooms for the evening. Perhaps we will all pitch in together to finish yet another project that I cannot seem to complete without them. Perhaps a video will draw us all into song and dance. Perhaps I will break into a spontaneous yodel and drive them crazy for a change…

Right now, we are all existing; separate but joined.

I enjoy these times most. When I write, these moments are the ones I want to capture. When I try to think about how to codify my thoughts on having children, faint whiffs of this domestic scent rush past my vocabulary and I know I can’t really ever explain… This feeling is the reward for all the noise, all the interruptions, all the spills and all the aggravation. These times are what being a parent means to me… no matter how old they get, no matter how we all change, this feeling, this peace, this serenity does not have to leave us… there can be visitations for years to come.

I hope that all people never lose complete touch, spiritually, with their family. Whatever the problems, whatever the past, there has to have been some moments like this… mustn’t there?


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