A song lyric I heard several years ago became my mantra for beautiful stolen quiet moments. "I love the mornings cause nobody needs nothing from me"- Kelly McCrae
For a very happily married mother of two young children, it is not often that nobody needs nothing from me. I often remark to Grant that Knox's favorite time to have a book read to him is the moment he hears the bathroom door close. We are a family of extroverts, and alone time is to be avoided at all costs. Both of my children prefer to be with us at all times and we have learned to embrace it. When Grant jumps into the shower in the morning, Pursy considers it a perfect time to sit on the edge of the tub for a chat about where cereal comes from. Maybe because she knows he can't go anywhere. Maybe because she knows her Daddy adores her and will answer all her questions. Nothing makes Knox want a snuggle more then watching me get out all the ingredients to chop and prep for dinner. There are very few sacred spaces in our house where being together is discouraged. We even survived a season of family bed where our exhaustion surpassed our staunch belief that "children should sleep securely and singly, each in their own bed"- St Benedict.
I have learned (or am reminding myself constantly) that this season of togetherness does not last forever. Pursy's favorite person to have a date with will not always be Grant. Knox's idea of a perfect afternoon will not always be hanging out with me, doing whatever I am doing.
Maybe because they are rare. Or maybe because I am an extrovert until I'm not, but small spaces of solitude are lovely to me. Perhaps it is the fact that they are usually unplanned.
Like this morning, when my 3 favorite people were upstairs watching cartoon and eating breakfast cereal. Knox and Pursy by intention, Grant by desire to sleep longer and knowing that our tiny humans needed his body to be closer then the downstairs bedroom. He catches a bit more sleep with both babes sitting on his stomach. Saturday morning cartoons are a deliberately planned activity, born out of my lifelong desire to be just like all of my friends who spent Saturday morning in front of CareBears and GI Joes. My family did not have a television when I was growing up, and Saturday mornings for us were very much empty of the 1980's cartoons that are now coming back into vogue. Although the "new" old shows are far inferior to the low tech animation of my childhood. (All the original TMNT episodes can be found on YouTube, by the way, under "TMNT 1987").
So I bring bowls of cereal and blueberries upstairs to the playroom and leave my husband and children to Saturday morning. Because mornings come early when you are 4 and 6, it is still chilly, just risen sun morning air that greets me when I step on the back porch. And I make a French press of Zeke's coffee, toss some blueberries in a bowl, and grab my book.
Nobody needs nothing from me.
Everyone is content and happy and full. And I, as the homemaker and chef and nurturer and wife and parent, have done all I can for the moment. My people are fed and tucked in to something that I don't need to provide. And I relish the whimsical vision of childhood that involves cartoons and pajamas and cereal bowls and their Dad. My children are learning how to work and entertain themselves and 6 mornings a week do their morning chores and get dressed. So Saturday mornings can be enjoyed for the lazy slower pace they offer.
And me? I sit on the back porch and watch the sun rise higher in the sky. I read Wendell Berry and dream about unearthing the potatoes out of the garden in a few weeks. My coffee wakes me up and I linger over the plans for the summer that Table magazine helps me imagine. I count my blessings and dream my dreams and breathe deeply. It is only when you know how to be with people that alone time is sweet. For me anyway.