September has been an emotional month – saying goodbye to summer, starting preschool with my oldest (for real, you guys, he’s gonna be five!) , turning not-quite-forty-yet, and contemplating whether our family is complete. The emotional plate is full, no seconds, please, thank you very much!
The arrival of fall means I’m back to full-time mom, since hubby returns to teaching. So once again I have two satellites swooping around me in their constant orbit (in the summer, it’s more like hubby and I are passing through an asteroid belt! LOL).
We’re spinning through our days, these two boys and I. Running errands, learning, growing, reading, baking, picking raspberries, building Lego houses, cleaning, running,…
My boys are obsessed with the moon right now. Where it is, where it goes, why it’s sometimes full and sometimes “a smile.” My littlest constantly parrots the Eric Carle line, “Papa, please get the moon for me!” and my oldest loves saying “I love you to the moon and back!”
I wanted to find out a little about the moon, and gravity, and the orbit of satellites. So… instead of waking hubby up, I did the totally scientific thing and looked up something on Yahoo Answers.
I’m sure something in there is somewhat accurate, right?
So here’s the thing I learned about gravity. The moon does not create gravity. Everything has gravity affecting the masses around it. Pulling tides in and pushing them out…
Well that explains why I’m constantly bumping into one or the other… we’re orbiting closely these days… the pull to sit down and read one more book, build one more Lego house… the pull is strong (and not always metaphysical!). And I give in and should give in more to their little demands… I mean, seriously, WHEN else in my lifetime will sitting down at 10:30 a.m. to build a Lego house complete with a pool, pirate, and helipad be socially acceptable!?
The thing is, gravity weakens as it goes outward.
And that’s what I’m most afraid of… as my son’s legs stretch up-up-up, and I somehow can’t wrap my head around why the pants I carefully set out for his first day of school are now highwaters. Who made these pants like this!? What? Didn’t he listen? I told him to stop. growing. up!
He’s stretching up and out – farther away on his own, and he just laughs and tells me, “I can’t stop growing, Mommy!” When all I want to do is pull him back into my gravitational orbit… you know, the once where he was floating around inside me for those nine months? Yeah. Can we go back there for a bit?
When I went away for the weekend to Bloggy Con – thankfully they orbited Daddy for the weekend – I could still feel that “pull” whenever I’d chat with them on the phone… but it was weaker. Definitely weaker. There’s things that can’t be influenced over the phone and through pictures. Hugs and kisses and boo-boos that I can’t mend.
The thing is, gravity goes outward forever.
Maybe motherhood travels at the speed of light just like gravity. In an instant, I can be taken back to the moment of my children’s birth. That second he pulled loose from me, like a space walker connected by an oxygen cord… then slipped from even that to begin his independent orbit. At first, he didn’t move far away, attached to my hip, chest, lap, back, side… then his own mass, his own gravity grew… and he started spinning in concentric circles ever outward.
Did you know the moon is constantly moving away from the Earth? It’s barely perceptible but true (I read it on Yahoo!).
I’m passing through phases of mothering… these boys of my moving imperceptibly outward… I can’t even tell most days except from looking backwards… Or when my son manages to get the milk out, pour his own bowl of cereal, and put everything away… and only a few drips got on the floor. Tidal waves crash over me.
I love this phase of motherhood, where the boys circle me and I them, never too far apart… content to thrive in each other’s orbit. I will grieve this phase of motherhood, as day by day in endless ways, their orbit bends slightly farther out.
When they move from satellites to be more like comets that flash past on weekends or holidays… Oh I know that will also be a good thing that they’ve developed their own orbit… but I will grieve this orbital moment, this cycle.
I take comfort that even stars millions of light years away are still affected by Earth’s gravitational pull… even slightly. To the moon and back is a long way… a long way, but I am glad there’s love all the way there… and back again.
Motherhood goes outward forever.
I have gravitational pull! I tell myself. My consolation as I watch these lovely little orbiters of mine!
Forever and ever, I will feel the pull of these boys on me, and I hope I, on them. I hope we will constantly swing an orbit ’round each other no matter how much time and space comes between us… and when they are distant stars in my eyes… my prayer is for them to have little satellites of their own in their loving orbit.
I love you boys! To the moon and back… and beyond…