After a day of noise and chaos, of grandparents and carnival rides, the quiet in the back of the van came on gradually. Halfway between Moberly and home, I glanced in the rearview and saw all my children sleeping peacefully in their car seats. The day’s tantrums and disobedience lay discarded like so much stale bread, and all that remained was the sweetness of motherhood.
In that moment, I knew what it was to be connected with all those who came before, and all those who will come after—generations of mothers who hold their infants long after the feeding is done, singing and talking, cooing and adoring; of fathers who peek in on children in the middle of the night, finding reassurance in the sound of their children’s breathing; of parents who collapse into bed at the end of a long day, and spend their only few moments alone together laughing at the exploits of the munchkins entrusted to their care.
It was the future I glimpsed the rearview mirror…a land unknown, yet partially revealed in Julianna’s glasses perched half-askew on her nose, in Alex’s mouth squished forward where it rested on his hand, in Nicholas’s head tilted 45 degrees to his body. And it was the past, too—the promise of generations already brought to fruition. The past in motion, passing through the present on its way to the future.
What an awesome thing I am a part of.
This post originally appeared on June 14, 2009.