This morning I awoke to the giggles and joy of 3 little boys and their mama and my husband coming to life as the sunshine poked through the trees and into my window.
I stayed in bed to listen, cherish and linger in their sweet song. I overheard Parker Ali, the youngest, the birthday boy this morning, say to his mama “this house is like kid heaven”, and further; “the chocolate (left on the table from last nights s’mores), the tree fort, everything here, is like, perfect for kids”. To which his mom, one of my dearest friends, said “Isaac was a very lucky boy to grow up here, wasn’t he?”.
Last night we had 8 children and 8 grown ups over for a summer olympics party; games and prizes and water balloons– a tiki hut, a limbo line, a campfire, music and summer food and laughter. So much laughter and happiness.
It was not without tears and deep breaths. Something is always missing even in these almost perfect moments. I found myself frequently needing little breaks, to just be alone and listen and take it all in. I don’t want these moments to end and I also don’t always know how to take it all in. This weekend was one of the last ones my summer sisters and their beautiful children will spend all together; everyone starts to head back to their busy lives and school and homes. There is always a certain sadness that washes over me as summer, as I have come to know it, fades into a quiet emptiness.
Last night I just tried to bathe in the glow that my little tribe casts upon my home and my life. I helped one wash sticky hands, got and placed a band aid and a kiss for an owie on another, asked the almost too big to fit on my lap daughter of my bestie to sit atleast one last time on my lap and look at the stars, tucked another one of the boys into bed and said “I love you”. I savored the smell of their little heads as they hugged me when I asked, and watched intently as their mamas loved and cared for them, spoke to them with great care and affection, and showed them how to break glow sticks. These days will pass, all too soon, and I watch us grown ups know this. Next summer Big (and strong and kind) Miles will surely be taller than me, already so close at 9.75 yrs old. Brandon, now the oldest and generous leader of our children, already is. When did that happen?!?! Ari, already a stunning 13 yr old, will be faster and more lovely and determined and kind, Cole, the wise and sturdy and cautious and curious, Jayda, the quiet observer and noticer, Parker, the effervescent energizer, Elliott the sensitive and sweet, Little Miles, the bright eyed bull, the baby of this little framily. They keep growing. Lifting all our hearts, helping us remember, and even sometimes, forget for a little while.
The richness of summer brings my body to life and brightens my spirit; my skin is brown and feels ripe, nourished by so much fresh food, and the ache and heaving in my chest, from grief, feels a little lighter. There is so much I am grateful for; enduring friendships that deepen and strengthen and carry me forward. It isn’t effortless, it isn’t always easy or carefree, I must stretch myself to stay open, awake– present. And I must also honor the pull for quiet moments of solitude when something beautiful catches me off guard and turns me toward the awareness of what is, of who is missing. But these women, these mamas, let me participate in their children’s lives in such a way that I still feel mama like– and their children, even down to the 5 yr old, remember Isaac and speak of him with curiosity and reverie, for the light he was and the place he held in our little tribe. And that is something.
And I feel lucky.