I would like to think that I am a person who is driven by my heart.
I am familiar with the ache that comes from emotions that are constantly under the surface. Emotions about my kids, or husband, or the homeless guy with the sign, or the moms in the Olympic commercials, or the tragic story someone posted on facebook. Emotions that come with just living.
That ache leads me to believe that my heart must be in the driver's seat; my heart is in control.
However, last night, I decided that, unfortunately, that ever responsible, rational, matter-of-fact personality was showcased as evidence that my mind is MORE often in charge, while my heart is having a pity-party in the corner of my soul.
This is NOT a good thing.
After spending the Sunday afternoon doing the countless things that moms still have to do on Sunday afternoons, all while trying to regroup from the 3 hours of sleep received the night before, I walked outside, grabbed a lawn chair and watched the kids shoot their b.b. guns at old pop cans. Steven was sitting on an old piece of wood and had been coaching them on their technique while I was inside.
I watched my husband and marveled at the fact that despite the long hours he works, or the high temps he works in, or the other things he 'needs' to do, he always spends time every day doing something with the kids that they love.
He takes B to the "back" (the back: noun. A place where the woods behind our house meets a field; the place where all of Steven's junk/B's treasures reside), he rides horses with L, he plays games with them using whatever object is around-making up rules as he goes along. Most of the time, while he is doing that, I am doing whatever it is I do. Cooking? Cleaning? Straightening up? Sitting on the sidelines watching? Who knows? I guarantee whatever it is that I do will need to be done again tomorrow..... It never ends.
Last night as I walked outside with Steven to go watch the kids, inspired by the Olympics race around the house, he gently said, "You know, I think L would love to spend more time with you." A little shocked, but more than a little guilty, I said, "Why? Has she said something?" He shook his head and said, "No...I just think she would."
My mind held images of L and Steven off on another adventure on horseback and how theirs is a connection they will always have. My mind scrambled trying to think of something that L and I shared that was our own. Only ours. And I came up empty...... I take her places, I tell her she is special, we talk and listen and share....but usually in the midst of life.
Life. It never stops....until it does. And then it is too late.
Steven continued..."I think she would love to get to see you be YOU, instead of the mom/wife duties that you fill. You know, all too soon they will be gone and the rest? It will still be there."
And he is right.
I thought about L and her eyes, and B's too, and how they light up with excitement when we play basketball together, or work on a craft, or simply play a board game. As I returned to the conversation I nodded my head and said, "I am not good at playing. I didn't even play when I was a kid....."
But that isn't my kids fault, is it? Just as I don't care if they are great basketball players or the best artist, I just love their joy.
They would love mine too.
I want to exorcise the part of my mind that says, "Yes, you can do (insert activity here) as soon as you pick up this, put up this, get this done...or after I fix supper..or..." and then the next thing you know, the day has passed.
Over 9 years worth of days have passed for L, and over 7 years worth for B. The days that I have taken a break and given myself, mentally, wholly and completely to them, are too few and far between. I am sad. I am discouraged. I want to change the way my mind works, but I can only change the way I respond to it.
I know the love I have for them, and that I never question. I smother them with kisses and vocal declarations but they'd rather have my time.
Uninterrupted, completely in tune, time.
And I want to give them that too. What a failure I would be if two amazing children that have made me know levels of love and joy that I have never known before never saw the absolute joy they gave me? Joy in a form that they understand; in the language they speak.
In less than 9 more years worth of days L will be grown. Considered an adult. My heart aches at the very thought of my children being grown. My mind recognizes that the future is coming upon us at break neck speed, causing me to squeeze my children tighter each time they slip their hand in mine, or run and grab me around my neck....knowing that each time could possibly be the last before childhood is gone and adolescence crashes the party. Adolescence isn't nearly as forgiving of parenting mistakes as childhood is, and I pray that I still have time to show them who I am....and how much I love them.
And, last night with the conversation still in the forefront of my mind, as I stepped up to the starting line made by L and B, with Steven competing at my side, I knew that running this foot race against Steven, just as B and L had just ran theirs, was just one way to remember what it was like to be a kid, and to be free, and to have fun until someone came and told you it was time to go to bed.
I want to be the one outside running the race with them.
I don't want to just be the one telling them it is time for bed.
And although Steven denied it, he totally let me win.