The River

The thing about feelings is this: they either rush through us like a river and empty out of us or they course around and meet a wall — a wall we build when it’s not safe to let it out. The boys rush to me in the mornings and each curls into a side. I feel like a bird, plump with wings made just for this. Their eyes are crusty with sleep and they yawn and burrow. They are so tall now, all gawky hard angles.

“Mom?” he says, “what’s on tap for today?” For Sam, schedules are still paramount. He likes to plot it all out — which is why weekends, with chunks of time to fill, can be problematic. We talk about how it’s Monday (hooray!) and he has a regular day at school and media — his favorite. We talk about what types of books he will check out (we’re back to extreme weather and the world atlas). We outline his schedule (first morning meeting, then math, then reading…).

Then he says, “I love you Mom.” I love you too buddy! I say as brightly as possible because in an instant the river has rushed up behind my eyes. The wall is close to coming down. John is still quiet, his arms circle me from the other side. He listens to us and then says “Go to school?” We get up and begin the morning routine and I’m all super-efficient Mommy making breakfast, packing lunches, getting clothes. As long as they are okay, I’m okay.

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