I have a small white shadow box sitting in the corner of my bathtub. It holds two rocks, a few broken seashells and one sand dollar. That little box holds some of my most treasured possessions. Not because they hold great monetary value or really any inherent value in of themselves. They are treasured not because of what they are but because who gave them to me– my boys (Bobby included).
In that white shadow box is one dark grey oblong rock. When my boys were in Preschool, they would collect rocks from the playground to bring to me. At the end of the day when I pick them up one of them would reach down into their pockets, dig a rock out and present it to me like it was the most beautiful of flowers. I would accept it in all the love it was given with. Sometimes they would forget to give them to me and I would find them in their pockets when I would do the laundry. This oblong rock was one that Justin brought to me with grubby hands and his own big smile.
I was working full time in an office and I hated every early morning that I had to pull my babies out of bed and stuff them into their car seats to drive half hour away from home to drop them off at preschool. My feet felt like lead walking away from that building and each day was the longest of my life. You do what you have to do and what I had to do at that time was work 8am- 6pm five days a week to make it through. The preschool was on the same property that I worked at and sometimes I would walk down and eat lunch with the boys.
After a hard morning and feeling like a failure in every way, I walked down from my peach colored office to the preschool with tears streaming down my face. I dried my tears and opened the door to go see my boys. I sat down at a tiny brown table on a tiny yellow plastic chair next to Justin. He was about 5 years old at the time and adorable in his little glasses. Kyle had run up, hugged me and then ran away to play with friends. After lunch I gave Justin a big hug and told him that I had to go back to work and that would be back in a few hours to pick him up. He took his little hands and framed my face with them. Then he proceeded to kiss each eyelid, then each cheek and finally my lips. He said “that should hold you over”. It was just what I needed.
When I see that rock in my shadow box, I think of little boy kisses that helped me thru long days. I think of rocks of all shapes and sizes that made me feel cherished. I remember that being a mom isn’t defined by where you work or what you have to do to make it through. It is defined by you. It is a journey that cannot be mapped out ahead of time. It is as unique as you are and it goes by much too fast.
I have a small white shadow box sitting in the corner of my bathtub. It holds one oblong rock and reminds me that I am loved. There is nothing more treasured than that.