Lila lives mid-sentence. In her brain, words rise like the tide, whirling into waves, until she catches a glimpse of me, walking by to fill a glass of water and she says, “oh, and, Mama, I think…” and the words wash over me.
It’ll be about her ideas for her Halloween costume, her thoughts on why watching The Little Mermaid just makes her want to sing all day, her idea for making money so that she can afford more craft supplies, and do we have any Elmer’s glue, can she make dinner tonight or do I think it’s a good idea for her to bake more cookies to bring to the fire station? Or it’s about what she’ll be when she grows up, and what do I think she should be, because there are just so many options…and so on and so forth.
Oh, and…always, as though we have been talking all along, the two of us.
It’s a delicate balance, lingering there, listening enough to make sure she’s heard, but also gently stepping back, inching away from the wave, so that I don’t get completely swept out to sea.
I’m having a very Cat’s in the Cradle summer. A very Cat’s in the Cradle season of life.
There’s always so much to do, to be done, and there is always a child or two, or three or four, who needs something from me, that I don’t have time to give, or who wants to buzz around my quiet space and chatter, when all I need is peace and I really (REALLY) couldn’t care less about the dynamics of the superheroes on their favorite tv show or what they’ll dress up as for Halloween and why.
The whole house is underwater. Summer school. Business busyness. Master’s programs. Internships starting. We’re four walls and a roof that leaks, housing the dreams and ambitions of so many wild and different lives. This is a wave, a tidal one, and we’re all just holding onto whatever we can and hoping we’ll all wash up on the same shore, okay.
Late last night, I interrupted Vinnie mid-school work, to have a lengthy, deep, tears-were-involved, conversation. I washed over him, my own pouring out of all of the thoughts in my head and my heart. It was my own “oh, and…” conversation, flooding him.
He is in a million directions this summer. He’s working, he’s in school, he’s shooting weddings with me, he’s been playing softball with the church, he has been grilling and cleaning and keeping up with the kids. He will do all of the things for everyone, and then stay up until the early hours of the morning, writing papers or catching up on notes for work.
He had countless reasons to tell me not right now when I derailed his homework last night, but instead, he listened.
Right. Of course.
Because, that’s what love does.
When you love someone, you give them the space between you. You listen to the anxious thoughts, to the daydreams, to the what-ifs…and you do it without glazing over or stepping back. You listen, because they’re your person. And perhaps they sound like they’re in mid-conversation with you when they start talking, because you’re the one they need to be heard by.
This morning, it’s Killer Frost.
That’s who Lila plans to be for Halloween and she has the perfect eye shadow already in her make-up kit, but she’ll need my help to find the right lip shade. And can we go to the store soon to buy material for sewing the costume? Also, strawberry cream fizzy water tastes like yogurt, but feels like soda, isn’t that odd?
This morning, I know I’m not actually drowning.
I’m breathing. I’m listening. I’m loved.
And, even in the midst of this season, I’m capable of loving those caught in this wave with me, right back.