Dust flirted with carpet fibers and cracker crumbs in multiple locations on our floor. Diapers and hair accessories and colored pencils and yesterday's worksheet and a novel and batteries competed for space on the coffee table. The scent of spit-up milk permeated the air thanks to a cast-off and forgotten burp cloth slung over the back of the couch.
Nothing was perfect.
My five-year-old was also slung across a couch. One long leg, wrapped in three-day-old jeans and a favorite, dirty tennis-shoe, was swinging with more than latent energy. It kicked and pumped as if she were trying to swing the couch up into the gray and dull skies above our rooftop. One hand with delicate, slender fingers dipped into a cup of snacks absently as she hummed to herself. I'm certain she wasn't even aware of the sounds she was making.
My three-year-old was sprawled on the carpet, arms and legs at odd angles. Because if there is a way to arrange oneself on the floor artfully, she will find it. Her waist folded sideways on itself and her hips wiggled. From the side, her round cheek -- smooth as marble, but soft as satin -- formed new shapes of its own as she moved her face to match her cartoon-watching emotions. There was apparently much need for consternation, surprise, and amusement to be expressed in turns.
My one-month old hugged me belly to belly. His lips splayed confidently around my skin as he suckled and gulped -- greedy and frantic at first, calm and satisfied in the end. His eyes were wide. The only thing in his line of newborn vision was my face, and I could imagine its appearance. Tired, unwashed, and smiling into his expectant eyes. One clenched fist bumped against my chest methodically. Like he was keeping rhythm. Without warning, he unlatched and reared his head back against my arm. He made a wet, pursed o with his lips before breaking into a huge grin, cooing and gasping at the sound of his own voice.
I met the eyes of my oldest as she heard her brother. We smiled together.
And none of them mind that I'm not perfectly groomed or sweet-smelling on this day. None of them mind that we've watched far too much tv in the past month. None of them mind that we've been off-schedule and on-edge and messy and disordered.
None of them mind the crazy.
The feeling of being unconditionally loved and accepted saturated me. Sopping and soothing my tired and ragged edges with warmth that was both undeserved and unbegged.
I am thankful for being loved unconditionally. And for the knowledge that I love these children