The one with the flaxen hair, running through the flaxen grass all wet with winter's melt, she tumbles through the false spring and has her first seizure since 2011. I remember another summer, when she seized dozens of times per day, and I thought to myself that I couldn't do this, couldn't sustain this energy level. I was begging at the Throne for strength. Strength that didn't seem to come.
Just like all seasons, it came to a close, as silently as a door closed quiet. It passed so softly into the night of memory that we didn't notice it going until months had passed, and seizures were few and far between. We had to think about it hard to remember the last one. And then she went three months, and then six, and now nine months between seizures. Now it feels like being suddenly bumped off your footing when she walks in and says she's pooped, and there is vomit on her lips, and we turn to each other in bed with knowing eyes and the question, who cleans up this time?
The spring air is clear, the light is a blue-white, and I am chasing shadows across the lawn, trying to catch muddy feet in my camera viewfinder on a 70 degree day in March. Feet, those little feet that make so much noise as they stomp and patter through the hardwood floors of the house. I remember another season, too...one when I slept in a pile of babies and wondered if I'd ever be able to turn onto my stomach in sleep again. Then the babies grew, and got bunkbeds in their own room, and still that constant interruption through the night, the pitter-patter across the dining room and the squeak of the door on the hinges as they plow through to Mama.
It used to be four children who would vie for a spot in the queen bed between us. All night, the constant interchanging, one child carried back to bed snoring so their sibling could claim the valuable real estate on the flannel sheets. I remember the bone-tired mornings, the many times getting up through the night, the begging Jesus for a nap. I didn't think I'd ever sleep through again.
But now I do. The eldest two never come anymore. They stay tucked in their own beds, oblivious to the younger two, who still make the pilgrimage through the dark to our room several times a week. But there are days in between - sometimes a whole week - when we sleep alone in whatever position we desire. And on those long stretches, I am reminded that this season will soon pass quietly like the seizures, and I will always be alone in bed. So I hug them tight when they come, plant myself uncomfortably but close, my heart comforted. Sometimes I even beg my eldest two to come cuddle in the morning since they no longer do at night.
Why does time fly by so, when you get to the meaty center of joy? The season you waited your whole life to experience has fleet little feet, and you can't hold on to the moments fast enough. Remember, young mothers, on those days with the flu, and the sleepless nights, and the constant neediness...it goes quickly. Don't forget to hold them tight and give praise for this momentary pleasure of being the center of someone else's universe.