Taken from the poem “Your Laughter” by Pablo Neruda
Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at the clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
but never your laughter
for I would die.
On any given day, these three couples can be found somewhere in our home. As was the case yesterday, minus one half of one. The responsibilities that go along with college and job often times keep Evan in St. Paul these days. We are so proud of him.
Simply put, I love having them here. I'm thankful for that. It was not always the case when the older ones were at home. When I was caught up in the busy-ness of life. When I worried about things like having the house clean before anyone could visit, or needing to have time to prepare a special meal if someone was to join us, or wanting to look my best if visitors were here. Times are very different now. Most generally, anyone who enters our home knows that I could be stuck in bed for the entire visit. Our bedroom quite often serves as the kitchen, living room or study - a bed full of pets, kids, a husband and me.
Either way, whether I am bed bound or up and about, one of the things that fills me most is the sound of laughter that echos throughout these walls. Shy flirtatious laughter, the laughter that escapes in between tickles, the loud robust laughter that comes when huddled around YouTube or at the end of a practical joke - there is nothing like it. It bounces off our ceilings, spills milk at the supper table and doubles us up onto the floor.
There is just so much to be grateful for. I could not have handpicked better boys to be a part of our lives. I watch them. I hear when their words are gentle, I watch the tenderness and respect in their touch and I feel the genuine presence of new love. It is what their days are supposed to be all about. As Anna and Evan are slowly finding out, the responsibility of adulthood comes soon enough and making space for these moments becomes more difficult and most important.
For me, these six kids bring me more joy and healing than all the medication in the world. I am so glad that I figured out what it means to just "be" in their presence. Minus all the "mom-expectation", I'm truly in it for the experience. Not that we don't still have our moments of parental guidance and general direction giving, but it really is an experience that we all share equally. Learning and loving, giving and taking, laughing at life.
As Pablo Neruda says in the poem above, "deny me bread, air, light, spring, but never your laughter, for I would die."
We all need it.