Yesterday I mowed the lawn. I looked like a snail out there, pushing that lawn mower slower than I have ever seen another being push anything. It was like a walker for me!! I am so low in my hemoglobin counts right now that my heart pounds with the slightest exertion. But, I love to garden, and I love to mow my lawn. No one else can do it because only I know where NOT to mow. For example...I do NOT mow over clover patches, because I love to search for four leaf clovers while the bees sip nectar from the flowers. I avoid patches of flax and keep my eyes focused down so that I won't go over any new shoots of seeds I have scattered over the lawn. I am hoping that wild lupine, arrow-leaf, and buttercups will start to cover my lawn in time...bringing the purples and yellows of the wildflower meadows to my own yard.
So, I looked like a 100 year old woman huffing and puffing slowly behind my lawn-mower in an attempt to control the rising mosquito population that seemed to be breeding in the long wet grasses of spring. It felt like the workout of the century, but when I was finished, I sat down under our biggest apple tree and admired how pretty the yard looked...like a fairy park. Or, as my husband would chuckle later...like the world of the Telletubbies. Safe, pretty and gentle.
I happily watched four of my five sons enjoying the sunshine and the velvety carpet of grass beneath bare feet as they happily engaged in the wonders of battles fought with wooden swords, protected by fake armor and sweeping cloaks. My 13 year old, not caring at all about the opinions of others, had also donned a vibrantly colored sombrero which flopped merrily on his mane of honey colored waves of hair. Their battle cries could be heard all over the yard...indeed, all over the neighborhood. I thought of how some of the neighbors laughingly called my sons "The lost boys" as they frolicked around in a world which loved learning, but was free of the confines of a classroom. My boys are known by all the neighbors, adults and children alike, as being intelligent, funny, dependable, creative, and free in spirit.
Suddenly, the clouds opened up and rain fell with abandon. I jumped up from my spot in the shade and made my way toward the house...but the boys just laughed with joy, for this storm only added to their epic battle. I stopped being disturbed by swords, pop guns and battle plans long ago...having five sons will do that to a person despite any amount of earth mother sensibilities. I know my boys to be kind to all they encounter, and I am confident that the exuberance with which they fight their battles is not only normal, but healthy.
Later, sipping the hot cocoa I had made for them to warm their sopping wet bodies, I watched them lovingly and found myself wishing that my twins, Simon and Alexander, could have joined this lively crew of little men instead of leaving us so soon.
I would have loved to watch them run after their big brothers, laughing and playing. I would have loved to kiss away the tears that fall after an accidental blow during a play battle, sending them back to play feeling loved and confident that they could endure the pains of life. It would have been wonderful to watch their mouth hang open in the awe of their eldest brother's gymnastics tricks on the trampoline, or their eyes sparkle while watching our 8 year old pull a coin flawlessly from him ear in a carefully practiced magic trick. I would have loved to hear my 10 year old reading silly books to them, and to hear them laughing while their 13 year old brother sang ridiculous lyrics to a beautifully played banjo tune. I would have enjoyed watching my little Bear discover the wonders and joys of caring for those that are smaller than you.
My twins...how I would have loved to hear the pitter patter of their tiny feet running with all the energy that boys possess.
My tears are falling not only for the precious memories and magical moments I got to have, but for all of the memories I will never get to make with them. For all of the moments that might have been...for all of the memories we will make without them.
No little twins running around, no secret twin language or codes, No tandem nursing of babies the same age, no double trouble, no double joys.
They belonged here with us, there was a warm spot in each of our hearts for them. But now, all we have are the memories that will never come to pass, wishful memories of what could have been, and the whispers of the wind through gold and purple flowers that remind us of that which we can never lose.