It is quiet this morning. I’m up earlier than normal thanks to the birds in the trees beside my bedroom, and the middles and little are still soundly sleeping. The boys in their room and Lil’ Girl on the couch downstairs, remnants of a hard sleep and the comfort you find in being where everyone gathers.
It is finally cool this morning, a blessed reprieve from the heat and sticky confines of this summer that got too hot too fast and I’m enjoying the heat in my coffee. It is good to be home. I spend much of last week away, in my other home-the valley of my youth where the mountains are tall and breathtaking and the lakes and rivers abound. There where family has gathered once again, called back by the siren song of the Rockies.
It is a hard line here, just two hours away but a lifetime in the lines of topography and family history. And my heart is still called back to the mountains and the water. I need water like I need air. The ocean is best but lakes and rivers suffice. There is something so calming and peaceful about a great expanse of hydrogen and oxygen mixed to make the life line of the land.
We had a hard day last week. We had many hard days but it seemed to start with one, where the damages of pain done by others rose up in the actions of our children and it was all we could do to hold on and wait for the ebb of the tide to recede. When all calmed for a moment I found myself out on the porch, my heart longing for the sea. The ocean soothes my soul.
But it is twelve hours west of here and nowhere near a short drive, so I held my breath and waited for peace. The next night I laid the babe down on a make-shift bed in my parents house and as he wrapped me ’round his finger asking for just one more hug, one more kiss, I was reminded that we missed this with the older kids.
We were not there for them to ask in a sleepy two year old voice for just one more. Just one more reminder that they are loved. Just one more minute of my time before they are swept away to dreamland. We missed it. We missed the moments of sheer giddy laughter at the sight of something new. We missed the bear hugs of uncles and the secrets from cousins. We missed the trust that was built in knowing that mama was sleeping in the bed next to you and Grandpa was just down the hall. We missed so much.
And they missed it too.
My heart aches for the children they were. The ones with no security and the valid fear of unknown. My patience is stretched when the trust is broken again and again and they don’t seem to care. I have to remind myself that they have built walls of protection around their hearts and minds and that those walls may never come down. Even though they’re safe now. I have to remember that there has never been a home to them. That this place, in my arms and under my roof still seems temporary. That they haven’t found the truth in the vastness of my heart, even though they are trying. I have to recognize that they may never feel like they can go home, because they may never realize what home is.
We are a mess of tangled, broken and bruised hearts, the lot of us. Some days are good, and some we struggle to make it to bedtime. Last night I laid awake in bed, praying prayer after prayer for peace and patience and joy to fill my home. For love to let loose itself in all of our hearts and for joy to flood our thoughts and actions and bind us together. Each day is a reminder to put on love. To wrap it around me like a cloak that gives off light and draws them in.
We are making baby steps in this patchwork of a family, but we are still standing. I find peace in the ripples of the waves on the shore and the gentle sea song in my memory. I pray for it to wash over us like the cleansing waves of a cool lake on a hot summer day. And I bask in the reprieve when it does.