Signs of Life

I used to drive by houses like mine and cringe a little. You know the kind, right? A place with promise and pocked with plastic playthings:

I can’t count how many times I’ve complained about our place looking like a post-apocalyptic hellhole within a few hours of having been cleaned — again.

But last night, just as the sun was setting, I walked out to close the door on our shed. And when I turned back toward our house, I saw it this way:

No, it wasn’t the inkling of a sunset that caught my eye. It was this:

And this:

Do you see it?

The little tiny signs of life?

Or should I say the signs of little tiny life?

And I almost started to cry, because really, inside my head, I’m often an old woman looking back on my life. And I can sometimes get a pretty good inkling of how I’m going to feel one day when my yard is all clean and trimmed, and my deck is just so, and the house is just so, and there’s no more of this:

It’s going to make me sad.

I don’t know if it’s because my kids are nearly five years apart, but as a parent, I find myself looking back as much as I’m looking forward these days. I’ve been shattering into a million bits since the moment my daughter was born. Kids don’t destruct you, but parenting does. There’s absolutely nothing like being the parent of of a colicky baby. There’s nothing like having to take care of kids with the stomach flu when you yourself have it. There’s nothing like fearing your child has gone missing, nothing like seeing your child cry when the world has proven more cruel than you told her it would be.

I have been to the very brink so many times–motherhood can be so painfully hard in this era of isolationism posing as globalism–and only an idiot would doubt that I’m bound for many more visits to that brink. But I think I am also just reaching that point of perspective that more seasoned parents have tried to tell me would come. I’m starting to see how fleeting it all is. And, oh, how I want to hold onto these things, these beautiful signs of life:

I have spent the last 24 hours noticing how much I’m going to miss all this stuff that I thought was making me crazy:

God help me when there are no more tiny chocolate finger-smears on my walls. God, thank you for letting me hold and raise babies, no matter the costs.

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3 Responses to Signs of Life

  1. Lynn says:

    What a perfect post. Thank you for that. You are so right.

  2. ck says:

    "…I'm often an old woman looking back on my life."Me too. This post made me nostalgic for the moments that have passed when I've sighed with happiness at my life. The times I've leaned back on a picnic blanket in my front yard and contributed to silly cloud commentary instead of picking up sandwich crumbs. It made me want more. Not more kids, but more time. Thank you for this beautiful post, and for the perfect way to start my morning. (And seriously, THIS is what I try to reach with my !!! posts. You always raise the bar.)

  3. Kellie says:

    tears welled. my babies are grown. usually I'm quite happy about it, but every once in a while I remember what I'm missing.thank you 🙂

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