I wake, stretch and there, waiting and smiling, one face greets me. One face lights me up, his voice and being filling the room with enough energy to brighten the darkest of abandoned spaces. And then, the spotlight love of his brother is upon me and I answer the questions, nod my head, under the full, bright weight of his unconditional love. It is morning, a new day.
Slippers on, hair pulled tightly back, I trip over the dog and run into the corner of the wall trying to make my way to the kitchen. Start one bowl of oatmeal, pour a glass of milk, get the coffee started, take the dog outside, pour Honey Nut Cheerios into another bowl, pour some juice, pour more coffee — on myself — and feed the dog, I spin around the kitchen. To and fro, back and forth, reach and lean, up and down, open and shut, and bow. Now repeat.
Throughout the day, much of the same.
Add in a kiss, a hug, a tackle, a back scratch. A sit down to color, draw a comic book, read it again, play a game with me, chase me, tickle me, just be with me now. Mix it all up, shake well, stir, and one two three four fix six seven eight.
Sometimes the accompanying music is that of laughter, of joyous childhood noises and occasional dog barks. It is light and life and love to the ear of any and all. Sometimes the dramatic lower notes of the life song accompany the heavy footsteps down the hall, the slam of a door, the drip of a tear down the slope of a cheek. It is dark and deeply dissonant. Between the light and the dark, the feet move with the bodies, the hearts beat with the tempo. Faster, slower, we move around one another, with one another.
As the day presses on, the music and the steps reach a crescendo, the fever pitch of the day when everything is at its height, whether good or bad. The climax of the day’s piece determined by each individual’s performance; were we in sync or too busy doing pirouettes of our own in center stage, needy and desiring of all of the attention if only for a few turns? When we are in sync, the high point of the day always feels more genuine than when one of us pushes others aside, trampling on whomever and whatever to steal the solo that should have been a duet, a trio, a quartet.
Whether happy or not so, the pace begins to slow again and we settle, our feet a bit more tired, our hearts a bit more peaceful as we know a rest is coming after another day of performing, together and apart. We stretch again, the music softly fades. The spotlight is usually the first to go out, followed shortly behind by the stage light, though it flickers off and on with “I needed a drink of water” and “I just want to read one more page” and, of course, “I love you.”
In the darkness, without their light, my dance consists of the clean up, readying for the next day’s performance of a life to be lived. Together.
I dance this dance of motherhood with them, beside them, behind them, in front of them; sometimes on top of them, sometimes under them. We dip and twirl and fall and tap and jazz hands our way across the stage of this life, hoping that the memory we haven’t yet created contains the appropriate choreography, the right hand, foot and heart movements. While I pause to catch my breath, they dance on; I watch, amazed by their grace, their understanding of the dance without understanding the dance. They inspire me to continue moving; forward, sideways, step one, step two, backward and, again, forward.