I took the country roads. Trees slightly curving inward with the wind and marigold hue of leaves gently loosened to fall to the ground, then lifted by breeze towards blue.
They were on the playground when I arrived. Chattering little voices becoming new friends, they turned to notice me, and my daughter tells them, “This is my mama.”
Their faces turn, pause as if they’re wondering, “My teacher has a mama?”
The first pair was a faded red.
The laces gray and soft from wear, I asked, “Do you want me to tie your shoes?”
He answered, “yes ma’am.” with a timid upturn of lip as I leaned to listen, and so I knelt to tie his shoes. Double knots, I remember we always did the double, sometimes triple. My son’s little legs, tanned by the Georgia sun, white crew socks and navy blue Keds, I saw him there.
I was visiting my daughter’s Pre-K class for the first time this year. I tied his shoes and he smiled, then another pair and another took their place in line, bent their sweet faces to watch me tie and each with a little pat on the tips of their toes, turned and ran off to play.
My daughter called them over, her tone firm and loving, “Line up and go to the rug.” Some lingered, some called out, “Mrs. Brown…he!” and one had left his shoes under the monkey bars.
A tiny little girl, her long blonde hair hanging in her eyes, went and brought her classmate’s shoes to my daughter, helping Mrs. Brown. So, my daughter stopped and calmly responded, “Thank you, Sunni.”
I wanted to thank her too. Embrace her and gather up her feathery bangs into a clip, away from her face to show her pretty eyes.
I remembered my little Kindergartener getting so frustrated with her cutesy bows slipping from her silky hair, she chopped her bangs, off and told me “Mama, I told you I was tired of that mess in my eyes!” always resourceful, independent and resilient, my daughter.
I waited until all of them had settled on the bright rug. I’d scanned the playground, seemed like more than eighteen children now. She introduced me again as her mama, “Miss Lisa” and said “I picked out a book for her to read, so get ready to listen.”
I watched as they all adjusted into “listening body” position which Mrs. Brown had taught them apparently and I took a seat on the stool next to a poster sized note from her to the children.
She’d written in fat neatly formed letters, “It’s a marvelous Monday!” followed by a list…”Today we will…love, Mrs. Brown.”
I read to them, their sweet little faces turned up towards mine and we all giggled together over the silly story. With a quick “the end” from me, Mrs. Brown instructed the girls to get their mats. One of them, the day’s leader was told to turn off the lights and then the boys rose to follow.
All around me, boys and girls dispersed to cubbies and then appeared with mats and soft blankets. The room, soft with sounds of gentle song, my daughter looked towards a child and said “She needs to be tucked in, can you do it?”
I went over and met a little girl’s sweetly waiting gaze as she turned to her tummy. I unfolded her blanket, then tucked under its sides and bottom, rested my hand on her arm, and asked, “Is this good?” She nodded and I looked towards my daughter, thinking she must’ve remembered I was good at tucking in real tight. Must have known I’d like to tuck her in.
This time last year reading to preschoolers would have had me a melancholy mess! My son was just beginning the most challenging year of his life for more reasons than I imagined. Daily talks, prayers, and responses to texts were heavier than I’d prepared for.
Planning my daughter’s wedding was a beautiful distraction; still a seesaw of joyous celebration and thoughts of how I’d be with empty nest. My son texted to tell me this week he’d passed his Physical Training test, a big deal. He added that this year is hard. I replied that I knew it would be hard, just a different hard and that he’s stronger now, and so am I.
Will be even stronger.
My daughter will have a cardiologist visit next week. I won’t be there, her husband will. I could go, told them I would… it’s up to her, her husband said.
Not this time. It’s okay, we’ll let you know.
I’ll wait to hear; wait to embrace.
Wait to be mama again.
I happened upon a story this morning about swans and I was drawn into the beauty of her words. Linking up with my most “captivating” story from last week. So,so trying to better at this “community” thing.
4 thoughts on “Tucking In, Tying Shoes and Waiting to be Mama”
So sweet and you are a great story-teller! I can’t imagine home without noise of kids arguing and traipsing but they say to cherish these years now… God bless you. You sound like you are a great mama!
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Yes, cherish them!
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Ah, I see you struggle with the same empty nest aches and pains that I do! While I love seeing them fly, I definintely feel the tug of wanting to tie their tiny shoes and brush strands of whispy hair from their eyes. Welcome to Inspire Me Monday! Thank you for linking your beautiful story today :).
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Thank you these words!