Yes, the Slug and the Tornado are Essential

Yes, the Slug and the Tornado are Essential

Last night we trekked to Killarney lake at dusk and stayed till dark, building sand castles and moats and swimming under starlight—drinking in the dregs of summer to the very last. •

It was so late and everyone was so tired when we finally arrived back home (a couple of kids fell asleep in the van), that we went to bed grubby, and woke up late this morning, remembering just in time that the boys had early appointments at the barber shop for back to school haircuts, and we had to pick up our vegetable order from the CSA. •

So the little middle ones (Felix, Cosmo and Xan) and I hopped into the bath and I soaped everyone up, and when we were done and it was time to let the water out, Cosmo and Felix stopped me and said “Mum. Watch the tornado with us!”—the tornado being that swirling accelerating whirlpool created as the bathwater drains away. •

I was naked and chilly, and we were late already, and I wanted to hurry up and get dressed and even maybe lock the door to my bathroom and check Instagram for 90 solitary seconds, but the boys’ eyes were sparkling with such joyful anticipation, that I just couldn’t decline their invitation. And so, Yes. • Yes. Yes, I will sit here naked and freezing, and stare into the bath tub drain with you my loves.  •

“Aw *yeah*” said Cosmo, head inclined. “Awesomest thing *ever*”. And Felix said “Check it out! It’s spinning so fast! That is the *coolest*”. And Xanthe echoed them both, because they’re her big brothers and they’re the best, and yah, this definitely is the raddest thing ever. •

Instead of the mundanity of dirty water emptying from the bath, I saw magic: the world inside a vortex, whirling, my three blonde babies and I bearing witness, enthralled, until the very last drop of water emptied away. And it was beautiful. • That moment of perfect connection sustained me through the chaos of leaving the house, and the lost shoes, and the fight that broke out in the van, and the guy on the motorcycle who yelled out to me “Have another kid why don’t you!!” [Why yes! I might just do that!] as we were walking down Queen street to the Barber’s. •

Love is everything, and it’s both an action and a choice, offered to us in every moment. I certainly don’t always accept my children’s bids to connect with them and show them love in action, and when I don’t, I often experience sorrow and regret. Exhaustion, stress, and my own residual traumas and issues contribute to that, but I’m getting better at moving towards my kids when they reach out to me to join them in marvelling at a slug’s iridescent mucous, or inspecting the sheen of a gray rock, or immersing myself their new dance routine. •

It’s easy to make the mistake of believing that allowing ourselves to be drawn into our children’s world is for them. But while it’s true that children need loving witnesses to their joy, it’s foremost adults who, in our avidity, and our scrambling, need children: their presence, their resonance, and their innocence. 

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