Don’t be sad Mama
Let me set the stage...
before I share with you really quick. It’s a Sunday evening, I’ve just put 2 of my 4 children to sleep, my other 2 children are given a 30 minute pass and then they too will go off to sleep. They are on my bed cuddled together starting and stopping shows on Netflix. I hear them discussing how they won’t have time for a new movie so they must therefore watch an old fav. I am surrounded by little mounds of socks, 5 to be exact, for each member of our family minus me since I steal from each sock bin anyway, so why bother with a sixth.
As I toss socks into their little piles that I’ll sort out later, a little purple ribbon skirt appears. I know this little skirt, I made it very late one night 7 years ago.
I run my finger along the raggedy edge scrutinizing the simple hem, holding it closer to my eyes I see the stitch zigzag over the ribbon, ‘that’s a sad attempt at a straight line’ I think to myself. The material feels so thin, like it was made a very long time ago. I think back to when I made this. The memory is easy to pull up; I actually smile remembering it.
It’s late summer on the Rez and I’m downstairs in my parents guest room. Outside is dark and quiet, the whole house is dreaming. My 3 babies are sleeping on the bed beside me, their soft snores breath out like a sweet song. The two are cuddled into the baby in the middle wrapped in her pink moss bag. I have the sewing machine set up by the bed. The faint whir of the sewing machine has a steady rhythm as I proudly finish the last of three garments. ‘Tomorrow is going to be a big day’ I remember thinking, ‘my babies have to look good’. I pull the purple skirt off the machine, click it off and admire my handy work. In the last 3 hours I’ve made a teeny baby girl t-dress for my 8 month old, a small baby boy ribbon shirt for my 2 year old and this big girl ribbon skirt for my 3 year old. I don’t even bother looking at the time because in not enough hours I’ll be bathing babies, braiding hair and changing diapers for my babies naming at the Sun Dance across the way. My heart is so full and content at this moment that I drift to sleep without turning off the table lamp. The next day is a blur. It all happened so wonderfully fast.
‘Who put this skirt in the wash' I wonder silently, forcing myself out of the deep memory. I fold it anyway and slip it beside me. All of a sudden a weight hits my heart, a wave of sadness washes over my entire body. I don’t know where it came from so I search my thoughts.
The socks? No.
Ok, something to do with their naming ceremony?
No not that.
Maybe something to do with that moment?
Yes, that’s it.
I dig deeper and there it is. My big girl at the time of this ribbon skirt was 3 years old, which is now my youngests age. I feel a bit selfish with this pain in my heart, realizing that this, for me, will be the last time I make something for my 3 year old. I remember thinking at the time that I couldn’t wait for everyone to get past 3 and be out of diapers and stroller meltdowns and nighttime feedings and just everything that goes with having toddlers and babies. I couldn’t wait for the day I wouldn’t have to translate baby talk to everyone cause only mama understands, or singing songs to eat or buckle up or whatever because my babies preferred song to simple direction.
I honestly feel like crying. My eyes start to sting a little but I hold back the tears, a bit ashamed that I’m trying to cry about my babies getting bigger.
Why? I think to myself. Don’t be sad, we knew they would grow up. I think of tired, content me 7 years ago And wonder what would she say?
I’m sure she’d say ‘enjoy your sleep cause you’re getting barely any here!’ Hahahaha and she’d say “make the dress, dance the dance, sing the song, laugh with your babies, do all the stuff tired or not, cause these babies are going to keep growing and changing and you won’t want to miss it”. I know she’d say that cause that’s what I’ve been telling myself everyday since I first felt life in my belly.
Don’t be sad mama, everyday is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.