They clamor around my worn figure just peeping through the door after a long day's work like cups clattering around the teapot warm off the stove. No matter in whose care they've been, nor what they've done all day, they are empty for Mama and ready to be filled up. I marvel at this full-time job that begins the moment I crack the door and doesn't end until long after I wish it would in the night hours. Our conversation runs the gamut from the doings of the day to what it is like to die, what I lectured on today. They are suckers for the gory details while we eat our dinner and even when I think I've gone too far, I pause, look around, and all I see are eager eyes staring back, waiting for the next description.
For some reason today is a day of many tears, even from the daughter-who-cries-not. I spend many extra many minutes cuddling, stroking hair, and delving deep into souls to dig out worries and smooth them out like twisted up scarves that need folding. My husband throws his hands in the air after 3 hours of this, and I think I might too, but perhaps it is the estrogen that keeps me going until 10 p.m., when finally everyone has had their snack and we've had our last tears together into tea cups warm, and we march up the stairs to their beds.
I tuck extra covers around shivering bodies already poised on the edge of slumber. My middle daughter turns and says she has hunger pangs even though she just got through eating her fill. She's growing. I explain. And in my mind, in the last warm folds of consciousness, I think this is what the tears are, too. The growing pains. Little girls and a boy growing every day, a million questions begging answers, knowledge to be gleaned and a hunger for the eternal that is never satisfied even while we feed on the very Word itself.
I sigh as I sit down on their cold wood floor to sing carols to them as they drift off to sleep. You will never be rid of these hunger pangs, I think. Spiritual ones, they stay with you, and long after your body has stretched to it's highest height, your soul is still expanding, because there is an entire universe out there to absorb and you will never, ever be done eating of Truth. The body, the blood. In this way, my children, you will always be empty tea cups clanging around the boiling pot, waiting for Water that quenches the thirsty.