I walked about 20 or 30 metres behind her on the footpath. She had two boys close in age dangling off either side of her. It was almost a wrestle-while-walking. I saw her shrug them off with a touch of jest and a measure of if-these-children-don’t-stop-hanging-off
You know when the kids are wild and happy. Wild. And you remind yourself that you want this. You do. Mostly. You want these wild and wonderful children in all their glory: happy-for-now, hanging-off-you, noisy, crazy kids. But there is an equal measure of you that is weary. Weary of the wild. Of the tugging; of the happy bumps and incidental tumble. Weary of noise and a longing for a moment of still.
I turned at this point, to my own brood walking and talking a few metres behind me. My son found a pretty coloured leaf and wanted to show me.
By the time I turned back, this mother was much further away on the footpath. The boys weren’t hanging off her anymore. No. Do you know what I saw? This mum was jogging, the bent-over jog you do when you’re interacting with kids. Her boys were running with her and the trio soon disappeared around the corner. I imagined her thinking a mixture of can’t-win-so-join-the-crazy and I’ll-desperately-try-and-wear-them-out-b
I thought, what a mighty mother. This mother who wrangles the wild, wild ones. Weary as she may be. Knowing there will be a moment, not too far away, where she will kiss two foreheads and watch their peaceful, sweet faces as they sleep. The only bit of wild left being the tousled hair on the pillow.
I shared this small story on my Facebook page and you can ready the associated discussion here.