By Lucy Fuller
The stars are so bright tonight. Emily kissed me on the cheek as she was leaving and said, “I love you.”
She ran down the stairs towards the car and quickly turned around and said, excitedly, “Mom! Do you see the stars?” It’s Sunday night, and Jody is taking her back to her dad’s for the week. I always dread Sunday nights when she has to leave—especially tonight. It would be nice to lay in the grass and look at the sky together.
Instead of grass-laying and stargazing, I am sitting on my front porch, drinking hot tea and relishing on our weekend. Jody was out of town, so, for the most part, it was just us girls for the weekend. The weather was beautiful, and we took advantage of mother nature’s warm hug she gave Tallapoosa County and the rest of the South. Birds were chirping, the sky was blue and we even spotted some little buds on the trees. We left our coats on the rack in the kitchen and soaked up the sun as we pulled
Abigail around in her wagon. We reveled in the warm day and the cool breeze until the sun finally rested her weary head in the western sky.
We danced, we sang and we laughed. We built a bonfire. We played in and around the barn. We ran with the dogs. We made no plans. We simply just enjoyed each other’s company. That’s something we don’t take advantage of enough. It’s easy to get lost in the world these days. Social media seems to reign over the entire universe, and it’s hard to pry ourselves away from the tight grip it has on our lives. We did it though. How did we do it? We just walked outside and shut the door. Yes, it was that simple.
As I sit here and listen to the stillness of the countryside, I notice that the time is 7 o’clock. The clock in the kitchen just told me so with its 7 dings. Emily has only been gone for about 30 minutes, yet it seems like an eternity. I have a hard time with the sudden quiet that her absence brings. She is always asking me questions about makeup, telling me about a new song that’s popular, or about “that guy” at school that may have a crush on her. (Secretly, I know she is actually the one with the crush. Don’t tell her I said anything.) She has so many wishes and dreams. She has so many questions about life. She is so smart yet so naive to the ways of this cruel world, and it terrifies me. I want to keep her this age forever.
Emily is so beautiful, and like the buds popping up on the trees, she is blossoming and budding in her own way. Though it may be the middle of winter, spring is close. I see it in the changing colors of the leaves outside and I also see it in the sparkle of her eyes and the subtle change in her voice. My little girl is growing up…and so am I. I sometimes wish there was a way to slow down time, but that cruel clock reminds me, with every loud and clear ding, that it cannot be done. I close my eyes and listen for the river, with hopes that it will drown out my thoughts, but I only get lost further and further downstream of my mind.
So this is what it’s like? Being a mother is not for the faint of heart. The emotional toll it places on your heart is like none other I have ever experienced in my entire 37 years. Motherhood twists, pulls, crushes, and wrenches your heart like nothing you can imagine as you watch it beat outside of your chest. It’s incredibly beautiful and painful, yet entirely worth every second.
Is this how my own mother feels day to day?
For 37 years my mama has been through the hurricane of all things girl. I was an only child, and she was a (widowed) single mom. I cannot, and do not, want to imagine what that’s like, although, I do have a very good idea. The amount of worry and stress she must have felt is even harder to imagine. I know I never made it easy on her. It wasn’t until lately I realized how hard I actually did make it, but she was a trooper through it all and never stopped loving me. The seasons of life truly took their toll on us, but we are still here to tell and even laugh about (most of) it.
It’s nights like this one where I usually pick up the phone and call mama. I never really have much of anything to talk about. I usually end up asking her opinion on a design idea or a marketplace find, and in one way or another it always turns into a pep talk. It’s like she knows when my heart is being squeezed and feeling a bit heavy. That must be a “seasoned” mom thing, because I don’t have that power yet. I’m truly thankful that she has it, though, because I sure do need those weekly pep talks. When we hang up the phone I always feel like I’ve gotten a hug from her, and it’s always just what I needed.
I’m still sitting out here on the porch listening to the river and eyeing the stars. Emily’s little voice echoes in my ear, “Mom, do you see the stars”? I smile to myself as I imagine her calling me one day needing that weekly phone-hug. My little girl is growing up, and it won’t be long before my phone will ring, but
I’ll think about that later. I’ve got a call to make.
Lucy Fuller is a lover of nature, animals, gardening, and old houses. She is a full time mother and wife. She currently resides in Dadeville with her husband, two daughters, 4 dogs, and cat. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.