My oldest just helped my youngest -- my baby -- enter their plastic Cozy Coup car via the non-opening door. (AKA Dukes-of-Hazard style.)
My youngest (let's just call her "the baby") has stolen my oldest's juice cup, and is drinking it like a secreted bottle of Boone's Farm wine.
They've also been using my husband's special leather chair and ottoman for, not only a toy-mounding spot, but also a launch pad for rocket ships.
I've rather accepted that my house reminds me of the zoo that we just went to yesterday -- sometimes I, too, feel like I'm viewing caged animals through confinement that doesn't suit them.
Today it rained. All freaking day. A lot of rain. (My side yard looks like a pond.)
Yesterday at the zoo all of the animals were making much more noise than normal -- it's like they also were not sure what to make of a sunny day, and warm weather, and that feeling of spring that nips at your still frostbitten heart.
We ooo'd and ah'd over the Japanese deer, whose name means "small," but who makes up for it with its loud noises. (Last night while we were cooking, I tried to relay this cool experience of watching the male deer call to his companion, but I couldn't stop laughing when I realized how the small stature, but loud voice reminded me so greatly of our littlest.)
These kids that I raise are wild. They haven't yet been tamed.
They haven't had their first real heartbreak, or their first fall that they feared they couldn't get back up from. They haven't learned the wisdom that kindness takes when people can be mean -- they still naturally are nice, and don't work for it. They haven't learned that the world means a perpetual reigning in of our inner animal.
I take them outside for walks in the park. I show them how the "crunch, crunch" of the gravel, and falling leaves, and twigs make my soul spark. We listen to bird sounds, and we see the sun sneak through tree branches.
I took them to the zoo yesterday, and, frankly, my neck was killing me from the stress of making decisions about my children, and school, and these situations that parents face -- when we're reminded that we're in charge of a tiny human's well being.
And I felt the way that this warm air is so much lighter on my shoulders. I felt, too, the smiles that the sunlight charged within my kids. I saw how even my youngest wasn't angry that she woke up from her nap in the car to get into her stroller -- she was just ecstatic to be outside.
Later, my husband told me that I looked beautiful. I looked at his face, and I could almost see the bewilderment, since he knew that worry had kept me up all night. He saw as well that I hadn't washed my hair in three days, and that even my messy bun was a shade too untidy from the wind. But he saw the release that shined outward, from being in this expansive place that we live -- when I'm reminded that my small house and problems are truly nothing in this wilderness of our bigger home.
It hit me eagerly in my mommy-breast that when I don't feel like I can adult anymore today, that all I really need to try and do is go outside, and look up.
I need to breathe in, and honestly feel myself expand from this intake of air.
I need to stop.
I need to remember and honor the wild and free that will always beat inside of me.