It’s time for one of the two Thursdays of every month where I give a nod to the things that make us stop and say, “There’s something about . . .”
It was 4 am and my son had a stomachache. We’d already been up together for hours trying to find something, anything to help relieve the pain. At 1 and then again at 3:30 we tried warm bath, which temporarily helped, but we couldn’t sleep there. Ice pack only made it worse, a warm rice bag prevented tears, until it cooled . . . and still no sleep. Even vomiting an hour earlier didn’t relieve his tear-filled, curled-in pain.
I sat wedged in a corner, exhausted, cradling my boy’s head, thumb tracing down his face—forehead to nose, forehead to nose. My boy’s eyelids drooped as he whimpered and grabbed my hand. His small hands still dimpled at the knuckles, mine starting to show the ridges of age.
I was struck by the familiar sight. This fusion of old and young is one I’d seen before.
When I close my eyes, I can see my mother’s hands perfectly. They’re knobby, veined, and lined. Calloused from working with wood, caressing my child-sized head, weeding the garden, holding my hand.
A lifetime of brave, steady work. Constant tending.
I can see the tendons running straight from her wrist to knuckle, rippling with the movements of her fingers, making a sandwich for me, or rubbing my head like I was rubbing my son’s.
My mother will never run for office, never likely make the news, but these are the hands that change the world one moment at a time.
A brilliant life isn’t made of a fast-dying, blinding flash, but a steady glow.
As a mom myself, I sometimes forget that my consistent pace, my secure presence means more than any brilliant piece I may write or any flashy award I could win.
Today, I choose to be the glow that lasts. The one committed to the long haul, through the shower (which is sprouting mold), through the 3 am wake-up calls, and even beyond the endless rounds of mind-numbing kid games.
I commit to being content to have hands that know how to work and a heart that is focused on others.
To all the mothers out there, to any who cares to stay in the game for someone else’s sake, thank you and glow on.