Friday, May 21, 2010

Wandering spirits have wandering thoughts

I am intoxicated by the magic of my children tonight.

Perhaps it was the incredible girls-night-out last night, which managed the press the re-set button on my spirit.  Getting out with wonderful women always restores my motherhood more than anything else.  Laughing over drinks, chatting about everything under the sun, and then walking out into the late-night air feeling excited to go home and see sleeping children...knowing I'm ready for whatever motherhood brings me the next day.

Simone woke up a bit ago, so I pulled her into bed.  She's resting with her tiny little head on my pillow, her chubby little toddler hands folded by her face.  She couldn't be more perfect to me.  When I restore my spirit and get those breaks, it enables me to just stare in awe at sleeping children - overwhelmed by the truth that her sleepy little self formed inside my body. 

I'm having a strangely wide-awake period at 4am.  It might bite me when I'm strawberry picking later in the  morning...I might fall alseep in the middle of the berry patch.  But for now, I am rested and restored and loving the beautiful outline of my sleeping daughter and husband in the moonlight of the window (and laptop-light of my computer). 

I am grateful for my children's spirits in many ways, but I'm most aware of this right now:  How in the last 2 weeks of completely changing the backdrop of my children's lives, no one is questioning the process.  This amazes, delights, and bewilders me. 

Maybe because we moved only a mile away?  Their co-op school, classes, and friends have stayed the same, that's true.  But we just moved everyone out of a four-bedroom home with a giant fenced yard, oversized sandbox, and playset and into a 580SF one-bedroom temporary home.  We have a king-size mattress in the bedroom, another in the living room, a recliner, and a crib-mattress in the walk-in closet for Simone to sleep.

And not one person in this family seems to care. Our crabby days haven't been born from what I expected, like having too much family in too little space.  Rainy days and sleepless nights and all the same old stuff.  But the setting of our lives, not one bit. There's an exhilarated anticipation in the air here, and I can see it wearing off on the children.

I'm becoming more convinced than ever that what children crave is stability within the family unit, not in the external variables.  I used to hope that was true, as my children were born to a wandering spirit.  But I sense that's what Steve is feeling too, hence his growing wandering spirit.  He's seeing what I'm seeing.  If family is here, it's home.  In a tiny temporary apartment, in a big home near the ocean, in a hotel room in the middle of anywhere, and perhaps even Bahrain.  :)  Life can take us anywhere at this point, and we're along for the ride. 

There are so many things that need writing, but I'm not sure where to begin on them....so they'll probably swim in my head for awhile more.  The Sudanese boy and the Tonka truck, contemplating teaching with the DOD, and lots of little things along the way. Sometimes I write to sort, others to document for my future self, and sometimes things feel so big that the words just can't come yet. 

I'll end my rambles tonight with this thought:  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples...and there beside me is the Stern Face, the Sad Self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from."  I keep thinking about this quote.  But what if it goes both ways?  What if all the joy and love and goodness that the family brings is so much more portable than we expected...and we can wake up in Naples with all that same goodness?  If you are who you are, no matter where you are...that is a liberating thought to me. 

And lying awake in our underfurnished, tiny place - home for the next four weeks - I'm sensing that's true.

We're still just Us. What we do with that reality, I'm not quite sure yet. 

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