Pooch stared at the kitchen floor, waiting for food scraps to fall. She’s always scavenging and often claws through the wire fence into the chook pen to steal their scraps. I stretched pizza dough on a floured bench top, spilling flour over the edge to dust her black coat grey. I laughed – Daffy Duck falling into a bag of flour!
‘What are you laughing at?’ called son three from the lounge room. He was sewing a green thread onto new white socks so he could distinguish them from his older brothers’ socks.
I giggled. ‘Call little Miss Pooch.’
He called her and soon laughed a jovial laugh as only an innocent and carefree child could.
Although he’s not such a child anymore; telling me the evening before a school outing that he had nothing to wear reminded me of his teenage thinking. As did his attempt to take the washing I was sorting down to the other end of the house, leaving him the space to freely throw his cabbage from dinner into the bin! I’m sure Miss Pooch would have eaten it!
And son one … well he’ll be driving in a few months, an adult with a driver’s licence. His friends already drive. One of them picked him up to go bargain shopping the other day.
‘Hi M,’ he called out to me.
‘Who’s that?’ I squinted across the road. Oh my, when I realised who it was. ‘You’re driving!’
It startled me to see him sitting in the driver’s seat unsupervised. That will be son one soon, driving without me in the passenger seat, another string cut from the thick twine that binds us as he drives, votes and legally visits bars with his friends. But my eyes still see them as little boys.
Last week too, son two received an elbow in the face while playing football. It split his chin open. I gasped as I watched him drop to the ground and only breathed again when he got up and played on. He laughed it off after the game. He too will have a driver’s licence next year and will be visiting bars. Although he tells me he dislikes immensely the incoherence of excessive alcohol.
When did they grow up, these little boys of mine?
Time moves everything from bud to blossom into the most exquisite bouquet, sometimes at impeccable speeds where before long, flowers begin to wilt and fall to the Earth. My lovely neighbour has just lost her father to the Earth.
I’m always banging on about time and gratitude and love. But I’m constantly reminded that gratitude and love sits at the essence of life. Stopping to appreciate all that I have helps me to realise what’s important, those simple things like hearing that genuine and carefree laugh, or the ‘thanks for staying home to look after me’ from a sick son three. That simple, heartfelt kiss.
Regardless of who’s doing what and who has what, who’s been here and there, what she has and what he hasn’t … it’s the simple things that are important, like making me a cup of tea just the way I like it, or having arms wrap around me in unexpected appreciation, and the ‘you can complain to me anytime’ from a friend.
It’s the simple act of listening and observing that can mean so much, to be acknowledged. It’s sad that we’re losing the ability to really listen when we live in a world of mass communication and where good communication includes listening and observing.
My children will always be my children, just as I am to my mum. Over there for dinner one night with the boys and we’re fed her pasta and fruit cake covered in melted chocolate, just the way we like it, with my glass constantly full of the red wine made by her partner. Then we’re sent home with capsicums and basil from her garden and leftovers for the boys.
My boys will always be my boys … our children are always our children.