All day I felt constrained and compromised.
My words are harsh. My tone is unforgiving, and my heart cold.
I am disdainful and exasperated. Those things make a person ugly.
I act in an unlovely manner and if the guilt doesn’t weigh me down, the worry that I might never figure this stuff out certainly does.
The feeling I hate most in all the world is that sense, lodged deep in my solar plexus, that I am somehow betraying my boys in these moments.
They lark around choosing to upend their cereal bowls and flick milk at one another at the exact moment that I nip to the bathroom. It’s the second time this week. I am tired – so tired – of repeating things that they should already know.
Please don’t get down from the table until you’ve finished. Do not mess around with the milk. Stop saying that. Leave him alone. Ignore him. Please sit down. Of course you have to finish it. No, there’s already sugar on it. Where are you going? Sit back down.
But in the darkness of a little boy’s bedroom I breath more deeply than I have for hours.
I slide underneath the duvet cover – adorned with farmyard animals – making a mental note to replace it with something a little more befitting a boy who is growing up so fast. But it reminds me that he’s still so little really.
He scoots over wordlessly, making room for me with a wholehearted welcome.
An arm is flung around me and we settle into a silent rhythm, inhaling and exhaling in perfect synchronicity – our first moment of agreement all day long.
His head nestles into my neck and he breathes me in so deeply that I almost feel I might vanish.
How peculiar that I say so much throughout the day – the vast majority of which appears to go utterly unheard – and yet our close proximity seems to ‘say’ a million things I don’t have words for.
My silent presence brings peace and calm; the likes of which my words can never seem to conjure, no matter how I try.
He whispers secret words to that effect into my ear, and every frayed and floating fibre of my being falls back into its rightful place, stilled.
I resolve to speak less and to say so much more – without uttering a word.