My son and I were working outside in the yard yesterday evening. He’s axing away at a tree. I’m clearing a heavily dense area into what will be a secret garden. I’m tired and sweaty.
The silence breaks with him, “Mom, you are doing an amazing job with my sister’s kids. You are raising them to be loving and healthy children.”
“Baby, where is this coming from?” I asked because it took me by surprise.
“You have to wait for them to go to bed in order to come out here and work on what you love to do which is nature. You sacrifice a little bit of you to help them survive. They are constant. They don’t give you a chance to breathe during the day (he giggles). I know this is not what you had in mind at this time of your life when we were all gone….”
I interrupt and stop pulling at the earth. Breathing heavily, I sit on the ground next to him feeling defeated. “Nelson, I truly don’t think I’m doing the best job for them or for me. Your sister was hard because of all her mental issues. They have so much of her running through their blood. I’m not the same woman I was then or have the same amount of energy….”
“You are better.” He stops clearing the tree and sits next to me, “You are giving them life. They would be dead with her. You and Matt have created a foundation and loving home. And you always say that love is all we need. They are a LOT. I admit that it’s overwhelming at times but they truly love you so much. They are smart and they are constantly challenging you and the world around them.”
He hugs me. I shed a few tears. Mostly of gratitude for recognition.
That was the pause needed to just finish for the day. It was getting dark. My body ached but I felt great to have done so much with his help in a couple of hours.
This second act at mothering children is different. It’s conscious parenting. It’s a lot harder than before. It’s also a lot easier than before. These children are thriving and I have zero expectations for them except that they feel loved. I’m trusting they continue to find the magic in the world and give love to it.
And that they are.
When my 31 year old recognizes the journey it does make it special. He’s been here five weeks…the longest time he’s spent with them. We spoke a bit more. He was kind and loving and full of insight. The adult in him acknowledges the adult in me.
Walking back to the house the earth seemed to sink us into it with gratitude for tending to her on Earth Day. At that moment I thanked the greatest mother of all…Gaia…and all the lessons she teaches me.