I am sometimes guilty of rushing bedtime for the boys. That last leg of the day before becoming an adult again, anxious to savor the indulgent few quiet hours where nobody is pulling on me or asking for juice, where Kyle and I hungrily soak up every luxurious moment of just being. I do love our evenings. But. Toddlers, teetering on the edge of sleep, slow down to the pace of honey rather than water. At bedtime I can't help but give them a hundred kisses, all over their still-round faces, their downy skin and deliciously fat cheeks, their soft jaws and little rubber noses.
The boys are not babies any more. They are tiny people as certain and forceful as the tides. They have gentle souls that pour out into everything they do and touch. They are the best of friends. I am endlessly amazed by the extent to which they are entirely individual in their beings. Rhys is independent, deeply sensitive, and has a remarkable assuredness. He becomes fully immersed in his play and his curiosity of the world, making his way through tasks at a pace he refuses to alter for any agenda other than his own. This is one of my favorite things about him. Getting him dressed or walking up a flight of stairs could easily take ten minutes. He is unapologetically true to himself. He has an incredible imagination and a deep, nurturing love for his toys and the stories he invents for them. Tonight, he is sleeping with a tiny rubber frog nestled into an egg carton. This is very typical. In the mornings, he crawls into bed with me and pushes his face against mine. "I wuv you mama. I wuv you the moon and stars."
Quin is funny, charming, and empathetic. He is boldly inquisitive and is the child who just last week, while in line at the fabric store, turned to me while pointing at the woman behind us to ask, "why she got purple hair?" He loves music and dancing and piggy backs. His laugh is infectious and wild. He is a dutiful helper, and will often slip out the back door while telling me, "stay there. I be right back. I just getting a log for the fire." He'll then pull on Kyle's size 14 sandals and venture naked into the cold November air to pull a log half his size off the wood pile. My efforts to stop this are entirely futile, so I've given up. I cannot keep clothes on him for more than twenty minutes at a time. His propensity for empathy and thoughtfulness are moving. Rhys was feeling sad at bedtime tonight. While I rubbed his back, Quin climbed out of bed but quickly returned, carrying a stuffed musical giraffe. He pulled the string. "I play music for Rhys," he explained, "and now he will not be sad."
Anwen's name means beautiful and pure; she is both of those things. She is an easy baby, full of joy and mischief. She loves her brothers and has every intention of keeping up with them. She has a head full of fuzzy wisps and big round eyes with heavy lashes and a beautifully bowed little mouth. Her birth and early infancy helped to bring me back from the trauma and sadness that surrounded the early days with the boys. She has renewed my faith in myself as a mother to a young infant by helping me to feel calm and confident, just as my pregnancy with her renewed my faith in my body's ability to nurture life. She is the answer to questions I hadn't yet acknowledged asking.
These first days since I've left my job have been bliss. The pace of our life has slowed to a crawl. I just feel happy. And peaceful. Incredibly, foolishly lucky. Every day. I feel like I'm looking at my children for the first time in months. I have nowhere to rush off to. No conference call. No email I need to get to. I'm just here. With them. I never expected motherhood to be a forceful lesson in mindfulness. It doesn't have to be. But what a tragedy to not allow it to be.