There is actually water dripping from the ceiling, and Bean is very proud of this accomplishment. He evidently worked hard for it, and mama-concern does not hold a candle to the power of splashing giggles. They are crammed into the tub with the giant Playmobil pirate ship and at least a dozen new kitchen sponges they found in the cabinet. The ship takes as much room as they do, and navigates the spongy icebergs and tidal waves their little slippery bodies make with great glee. I cannot bring myself to stop them; the sound of their laughter ringing down the hall is as welcome as spring- it’s only water…
A surly boy slouches in his seat, crosses his arms and knots his coppery eyebrows in a furious scowl. I am driving and his profile is at once intimately familiar and ever elusive. He is changing into a man, but he is my baby boy still, and when he slouches and scowls because he cannot have what he wants, I see the scrumptious baby who cracked my heart wide open. He sasses, and I smile at him, agreeing that life is unfair, and perhaps human mothers should eat their young to solve this conundrum. He tries to hide his smile by looking out the window, and his brow unknots. He is my boy again.
Abby sits at the round oak table, lit by a pale strand of early spring sunlight filtering through the front window. She is holding a cosmetics mirror her Nana gave her, and earnestly concentrating on applying a thick layer of purple glittery lip gloss she talked me into in line at Old Navy. She looks over the top of the small mirror, lips gooey with gloss, and smiles, brushing her bangs aside with the back of her hand as she puckers up and asks if she can kiss me.
Pre-dawn light filters through the cracks around the edge of the roman blinds in my room, and I am not surprised Bean is the first one up. He always is- only this morning, instead of his cursory “Hi mom.” while he reaches for the remote, he climbs into bed with me and folds his little body into the curve of my arm. My breath catches in my throat and I am afraid to move- His copper haystack is right under my chin, and I gently, with as little movement as possible, kiss the top of his head. It only lasts a brief second- like a hummingbird he is up and gone, but I am left with the sweetness of him allowing me to hug him.
Curled up on the couch, the sunbeams have moved towards late afternoon, and I’m thinking idly what I should make for dinner. My chin is resting on my hands, and I watch the kids playing in the front yard- it’s probably still just a bit too cold to be outside without coats or boots, but they are so happy to have the grass greening and flowers up, they neither care nor notice. Bean is climbing the rope tied in the tree and Abby is blowing bubbles with a soapy orange wand, while Jeffrey is dragging a lawnchair up into the winter-neglected fort. Pushing their grand-baby in a stroller, our bishop and his wife wave as they walk by our busy yard.
There are violet hyacinths blooming next to my front steps. Life is good.