The winter days spent mothering can feel long and robbed of fresh air and sunlight. I find myself seeing rays of light in places I would have overlooked at another time of year. I am hungry for it. Light falls through the kitchen window on babies in the sink. There is light, a golden honey, that falls on wrinkled baby toes. I live in yoga pants, hair swept up in a messy bun and I serve and give from the moment my eyes open in the morning until they are asleep for the night. There are days when I don’t think I will make it until bedtime. I do. I miss them while they are sleeping and I pray over them and think back over the day and vow to love even more the next day, speak even more gently, somehow become wise enough to divide one mother-heart between three babes who would prefer to have all of me. Tonight my 3 year-old snuggles deeper into my pillow, an hour into dreaming and still searching for mommy’s scent.
“I just want to be with you, mommy,” he pleads at bedtime, his tears falling, his baby sister squirming in my arms to be swaddled and nursed. “You and Evie snuggle me under the covers.”
I tell him that I am here.
“Your room is full of light, mommy. My room is too dark.”
I think of the nightlights his daddy has placed lovingly throughout his room and his big brother sleeping in the twin bed next to his and I run my fingers through his fine blonde hair.
“You can stay, baby.”
Relief and peace flood his face and he is asleep in minutes, head on my pillow, heart of my heart. When everything is still for the first time all day regret seeps into the quiet, it begs my attention, it wants to breed condemnation.
Why do I let sibling squabbles and all the messes steal joy from my day? I do. We all do it.
“Teach us to number our days, oh Lord,” I whisper into the baby’s ear. She nurses hungrily as her brother’s chest rises and falls beneath my outstretched palm.
The daffodils and crocuses emerged from the earth before Christmas this year, confused by December’s unseasonable warmth. Now they are covered in a fine dust of January snow. It is startlingly beautiful. In the morning our ducks roam the yard and I run my hand down their downy feathers and they are covered with tiny crystals of ice. My 5 year-old has planted so many seeds and bulbs around our property I have no idea what will come up this spring. What gift is just beneath the surface, biding it’s time?
We started a greenhouse of sorts in the canning kitchen at the back of our old house. Every chance I get I bring another packet of seeds home to him. We bond over little pots of terra cotta. He folds lavender seeds, basil, wildflower seeds into potting soil. He adds so much water I am certain the seeds will never germinate. They do. They emerge tiny shoots of chartreuse. Like me, they are hungry for the light. This boy that I grew inside of me is now a little farmer growing things beside of me. I praise God for him, for the seeds, for the light that knits everything together.
“Teach us to number our days, oh Lord,” I whisper into the falling snow, face upturned toward heaven.