The tiny slits in the window and door screens from a little childs finger, or a pencil mixed in with curiosity, is a welcome greeting to the pesky fly in our neck of the woods. Literally. Rural living brings great rewards, but flies are not welcome here.
Hence – fly tape. Drastic means take drastic measures.
I feel the echo of words off of my back as I stand at the counter and slice strawberries and stir the pancake batter. It has only been a few minutes since my toes slid into my slippers, and I snuggled with the baby. Requests for rides to here and there, and a call from the bedrooms that a child cannot find a clean shirt for the day, all while my hands prepare their breakfast.
The hem of my shorts is the sleepy-eyed childs blankie while I flip the pancakes, and the grown daughters are asking me about the day. The only little man left in the house this morning is struggling to keep his jeans up above his waist, and so my hands find the nearest dish cloth, to teach him to cinch the waist in more. Bending down brings me eye-level with him, and the dimple that gapes at me in his sweet grin gives me the motivation to finish breakfast and fill his belly.
Cutting five plates of pancakes into small pieces and covering them with berries, I am stopped frantically by the toddler exclaiming that she doesn’t like berries. At all. No thank you. The baby is pulling on my shorts again – wishing to be lifted into her seat – loving the berries.
I feel like fly tape. Little hands always sticking to me, usually with sand, and berry juice, or even permanent marker. The barrage of questions, and requests, schedules, and deadlines seem to soak into my skin, with the inability to deflect the noise and requirements that come upon me 24/7. I have become like fly tape. The sticky, high-in-demand necessity that can’t let go once it begins working.
What is it that draws them in like flies to honey? Is it my
fly by the seat of my pants togetherness, or perhaps it is my baby talk babble intelligent conversation? I wonder if my immaculate taxi van and order by mail wardrobe thrift store finds keep them thinking that I have all of the answers. Like flies to fly tape - something is drawing them in.
Perhaps when I
am older and more mature I have a chance to breathe, after my last baby leaves my side,(which will then be 40 years of sticky motherhood days in my home) and I am standing alone in the quiet of my kitchen, flipping homemade pancakes for my husband and I – there will be a rushing sound of quiet and the fringe of my garments will be delicately clean and untouched.
Will I sigh with relief over the demands of my time and the relentless call of mommy all day long? Ten children, every ten minutes, for more than ten hours a day, for forty years. Will I feel the rush of freedom with my time and find retreat in everything still?
I hope not. I hope my hem will always be held tight by little hands, and the noise and clatter echo off my back throughout the day. The background full of practicing instruments, and teenagers laughing over their funny moments. May my shoulders welcome the hugs from my growing man boys, and my daughters call with excitement. That my children will still call me with needs and wants, even when I might be tired and feel like the sticky fly tape at the end of the day.
Maybe with a little chance to breathe. Maybe.
Today I asked for some space. I set up some quiet time, and I found my center again. The demands can pile up, and the inability to be able to find a clean outfit, or a moment without someone calling your name, asking you to do something is the reality of motherhood our children cannot see, nor understand. They are not drawn to me for what I can give them, or what I will do for them. They trust me, they know my love is forever and secure. They are drawn to the nurture that God gave to mothers.
And that is the mystery of motherhood. It is like fly tape.
But stay close to my heart dear children, even when I complain and seem to not hear you. I am just replacing the fly tape with some fresh clean perspective.