I am an empty nester now and I have a great many moments of quiet. I sometimes fill those quiet moments up with a great many memories. If you grew up in my house or perhaps you came over for a play date, or perhaps you were a frequent flier crashing on our couch and eating dinner here. You were all my children and I welcomed you in. If you came to our home and made it ours for a brief time or maybe longer you probably know that we didn’t have many quiet moments. We would have rap battles and dance contests and we would orate great stories. That was the home I wanted to create. The kind of home that welcomed creativity and no judgement.
The quiet moments when my children were little were very precious. Those wee hours of the night feeding my little ones. Looking down upon those pink little faces nursing until they had their fill. Yes, I was exhausted! Yes, I sometimes would begrudge having to get up! Yes, sometimes I felt like my soul was being leeched through my nipples. But something happens in those quiet moments that is so vulnerable and so precious. The world is quiet and it is just you and your child. You know that this bond will never break. These moments of being so dead tired and still dragging your ass out of bed to feed your child, you learn that there is very little you wouldn’t do for your children. You give yourself very little credit for being a mother, a woman, or even a human in those quiet little moments, but you are so much more than that. You are both a soft nurturer and you are a strong defender. You are putting in the hours that your child will not, most likely, remember nor will you ever remind them. Hell, half the time we forget ourselves. We are women and we do whatever is necessary.
Sometimes those quiet moments come when your child has been throwing a tantrum and you have finally lulled them to sleep. You are exhausted and you have fought a battle that was so bizarre. As your child fights sleep they often times fight you and you are not a warrior of the fight but a warrior of peace. You do your best to remain calm in the storm and you finally have sung the right song or you have rocked at the precise tempo. Whatever magic you have created to get this child to sleep, your wizarding ways will go greatly unnoticed. But for right in that moment you will know the exact right timing to stand up and put your child down. As you sit and look for the appropriate signs, you sit content and you cherish your little fighter. You will rock or pat or sing until it is no longer needed and you will finally get the rest that you deserve. You will work for their benefit until that time has come.
Sometimes those quiet moments come when your child is sick. They have a terrible cough, or an upset stomach and you have been there right along side of them. You know that you are being exposed to germs and sure maybe before you go to bed you will spray yourself down with lysol, but there you are that nurse out on the battlefield with your little one hoping and praying that they will get the rest that they require to fight for their health. Those quiet moments that you fill with prayer and ask God to give them health and help them to heal. The love and the powerlessness you feel in those quiet moments are so overwhelming and yet they are precious moments just the same. For these are the moments where we rise to the challenge and we know that we will do it again and again until we no longer can.
Sometimes those quiet moments come after a big fight that you have had with your stubborn child. Maybe you have said some things that you truly wished that you could take back, but that child has shut you out. You sit in those quiet moments with so much love to the point of bursting. You sit with regrets and with maybe some steam coming from your ears, but mostly it is love. You fill these quiet moments with plans of how to make things right with your child. You know that you owe them an apology and that perhaps they owe you one too. You know that you are the parent and the role model so you definitely should go first. You make yourself some nice humble pie with a side of crow and your quiet moments are spent choking down your pride. Once you have stuffed your pride down enough, you know that the silence will now be filled with forgiveness.
Sometimes those quiet moments come when your child went out on their first date and you are sitting with anticipation to hear, or maybe not hear, but definitely hope tha
they share with you how it went. You watch the clock and even when you try not to watch the clock you know that it is exactly 9:23pm on the nose. You know that even if they don’t share how it goes that you will be there if they need you. You sit on the sidelines as the best benchwarmer there is. In these quiet moments you know that whatever has happened on the date you will respect them. Oh now it is exactly 9:24pm.
Sometimes those quiet moments come when they have gone to college and you are worried about them being on their own. You know that you have great kids but some how you doubt that you have taught them enough to handle every situation. You think about them in their little pajama feet and their little pigtails and you know they aren’t that small anymore but they are your babies. In these quiet moments we spend our time convincing ourselves that we have to let them go. They are all grown.
These quiet moments are far and few between but for a mother we spend many moments in the quiet. We fill that space with undying love and a fierce protection for our children. We sit in these moments and we know that whatever happens next we will do it for the love of our children.
Moral of my story: Live in those quiet moments. Love in those precious moments. Give yourself credit for accepting the challenge of those moments. You have been a great defender, a terrific giver of life, a wonderful friend, a fierce adversary and an amazing role model. Now that there are more quiet moments allow yourself a moment to really marvel at the terrific job you have done and then let them go. Good Job Mama!