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Second Shift

On a break from someone else’s kitchen, my mama spent some time working in a textile mill.

The work wasn’t hard. But it was repetitive.

The pay was good and there was no grease. But the hours were long.

They were inconvenient hours. Family hours. We missed her four evenings a week.

She’d be there in the morning to tell me she loved me and have a good day. And then I’d go out to wait for the bus. I’d let myself in when I got home in the afternoon and wait for Daddy to get home.

Sometimes I’d have a softball game on those days and she wouldn’t be there hollering at me from the bleachers. And even though I hated all her hollering, I missed it when she wasn’t there. Daddy would be there, sometimes, but it wasn’t the same.

I missed her.

After all, it’d been the two of us for so long.

There were nights I’d wake up when I heard her come home. It’d be 11:30 and pitch black outside my bedroom. Pitch black inside my bedroom. Maybe it was the sound of her coming home that woke me. Maybe it was just the feeling that she was there. Finally. Home. My heart complete again.

Sometimes when I’d be laying there awake, wanting so badly to run down the hall and hug her, it was like she sensed that I needed her. She just knew. And I’d hear her footsteps coming toward me.

Instead of jumping out of the bed to greet her, I’d pretend to be asleep.

She’d sit on the side of my bed. Sometimes she’d talk to me and tell me she loved me. Sometimes she’d pray. But most of the time, she was just quiet. Still. Present. She watched me sleep. Listened to me breathe. Like she was centering herself with my peacefulness.

She found the calm in her soul.

I have no idea how many times she actually visited me at night just to see me when she finally got home. I have no idea if she knew that I was only pretending to sleep sometimes.

But I know that in those moments, her affection was shown through her presence. Her presence was her love.

Now, I am a mother. When Joshua senses something is off-balance in his dreamworld, he calls to me. I go in to him and while he is drawing comfort from me I center myself on the peacefulness of his sleep. I find the quiet my soul needs.

My presence in that moment of his need is my love.

This week we were asked to write about affection. While there were and are other moments I could’ve written about, this was the one begging to come out. To be told.

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Sunday 19th of June 2011

I work the night shift. I hope my kids don't miss me too much. Your writing is amazing.


Wednesday 15th of June 2011

This is pure perfection. How beautiful. I often listen to my daughter breath just to hear it.


Thursday 16th of June 2011

There's something really, really calming and peaceful about that breathing. Like the world regulates itself upon it.


Wednesday 15th of June 2011

One of my favorite songs -- "Love Is the Key" -- has a line that says, "Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again, and there's love" -- I think that line would be equally powerful and equally true if it said, "Children draw their lives from moms and give it back and again, and there's love." Miranda, your post captured this sentiment in such a personal way. We do, indeed, draw life from our children; indeed, we often live life because of our children. Your voice in writing is so wonderful.


Wednesday 15th of June 2011

We do, you know? I live because of Joshua. For Joshua. The minute I became a mother, I wasn't living for myself anymore.

Thanks for the compliment.


Wednesday 15th of June 2011

oh see, now, I had a whole different comment in mine before your mom commented...

now all I can do is feel the tears fall and my heart feel all full inside, not just for you, but for the love she's talking about.

thank you for this.


Wednesday 15th of June 2011

And now I want to know what your other comment was!

But yes, a full heart. That's how this post makes me feel, too.

Alison@Mama Wants This

Wednesday 15th of June 2011

Miranda, this is truly beautiful and moving. And your mother's comment just made me sniffle even more. You have such a special relationship!


Wednesday 15th of June 2011

Next to Dan, she's my best friend. I'm lost without her.

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