Sometimes, with the boys in school, the house is quiet
the only sound piano keys quibbling in various tones when swiped by my dustcloth
or rain beating steady on the metal roof
but by evening the noise scales up, unceasing.
What's a monetary unit? Wait, which one do they use in France?
I made a mistake in my cross-stitch, can you get this needle unknotted?
Do we have any medicine for a stomachache?
Is my Ohio State shirt clean?
Do you want to see this structure I built?
I need help finding the Lion King song, please.
Can you help me pump up my football?
Can I have a snack?
Will you paint my nails?
Do you have a minute to help me reserve a few books about wallabies?
Can I use your address book?
How do you spell wheel?
These are not truly interruptions - I don't have any real, important work to do.
Their insistent requests puncture my focus, so maybe I forget to write popcorn on the grocery list or leave the lunchboxes only partly unpacked. I give them my time and attention whenever I can, most often wholeheartedly, but I don't hesitate to ask for a moment, usually in order to respond rather than react, when I feel the thread of patience being pulled.
I know that my reply to every small query matters. The boys are hungry for reassurance and information, not to mention hungry for dinner, and my brain is mush - all the frazzled nerves, relentlessly splintered and patched for years.
None of it is a waste of my time, I know
all of it an opportunity to show love.