Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Power of the Mama

We occupied seats 3C and 3D on the tiny jet headed back to Denver.  Me, with my head already in the clouds, and she, holding her baby and wanting to be chatty. We both sat down and stowed our carryon bags.  She had brought a lot more onto the plane with her, and was carrying her loot along with her child.  Hubby and another child followed her and sat down across the aisle.  I thought that it would appear rude if I put my headphones on right away after sitting down, so I waited.  During my wait, she turned to me and apologized for any noise that her cute little boy would make on the 2 1/2 hour flight.  I explained that I wouldn't be bothered.  She then began the friendly questioning.  "Where have you been?" "Where are you headed?" "What did you do while you were here?"  I volunteered my Mama status, explained that I had 4 kids, which settled her anxiety about her little boy getting on my nerves.  She glanced away and I took the opportunity to settle in to my own seat, trying to still be friendly, while making it clear that I welcomed some distance from her. 

As she unstrapped her baby from the carrier he was in, I had a flashback to flights that I had taken years earlier.  Babies too young to sit in their own seats, sat with me.  I could recall 2 different trips that I had my littlest ones attached to my body for most of the duration of the flight.  If felt good to have them close to me, to think that I was their "flight" that transported them across the country to our final destinations.  As I stole a peak at her little boy, I remembered with fondness when I was everything to my babies. Or so I wanted to think that I was.  This mama sitting next to me had the matters of flying with a baby down pat.  She was an expert.  She looked like she could have written her own version of "What to Expect when You are Flying on an Airplane with a baby".  There were snacks, and pacifiers and blankets.  She sang songs and played games that she came on board with, prepared to use at a moments notice. 

But the baby's favorite thing wasn't the toys that she brought, it wasn't the pacifier or the snacks.  It was her.  She was the activity that he wanted to play.  She was the comfort he needed.  Her's were the eyes that he wanted to look into, the nose that he wanted snuggled into his cheek.  This mama was his everything.  At one point during the flight, she passed the baby over the aisle to the dad.  The cries and fussing reached a higher decibel during this exchange, and then quieted back down as the mom and baby were reunited.  I heard her whisper to him.  "We're back together again. Its ok." 

She didn't know that I had been away from my kiddos for 4 days.  She didn't know that my heart was longing to get back together with MY babies as well.  I had talked to the kids while I was gone, and I knew that they were doing just fine.  Daddy was on the case which meant there was plenty of care, plenty of love and plenty of yummy food.  BUT... they didn't have ME.  And they missed ME.  They missed  my presence in their lives, my hugs goodnight, my scratches on my back, even the silly things that I always say.  Littles and Bigs alike, they missed me.  I am their constant,  something to be certain and assured of.  There are times that can be exhausting, but for the most part, this is a role that I love.  I know that for sure.

I came home from California with a greater determination to be PRESENT.  To not be so distracted.  To enjoy the ordinary and the normal.  To participate more fully and engage myself more honestly with my kids and husband.  I am energized in my spirit that I am, as KelleClaire,  and Annie taught me this weekend, "the keeper of the details of our life." That is my purpose, that is where my power lies.  This HOLY HABIT of giving my kids what they need to be comforted, showing them how to live, speaking wisdom and hope to them, celebrating the wonderful things, guiding them through the painful things.  Just like that mama on the plane, I have the power to entertain, shoosh, rock, comfort and play our way to a safe and happy landing.

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