Tonight, these boys sit around my table. They laugh, chew with their mouths open despite reminders, forget to use their napkins. They are louder than they ought to be and chanting and banging on the table is also not uncommon. I roll my eyes at their antics. I refrain from fussing, inwardly step back, adjust the lens.
The thirteen year old; he will have his father’s nose. In five years he can legally marry, but sometimes still he holds onto me in the kitchen and cries. He dreams of flying airplanes and foreign countries, and maybe he’ll write a book he says. He looks out for me, this one.
The eleven year old, overcoming his Dyslexia and surprising himself with a newfound addiction to a chapter book series as of late. He tells me about the dragon tribes and his eyes are ablaze with the love of a good story. My hearts swells and I exhale, satisfied. He is stubborn like his mother, but his heart is tender and always on his sleeve.
The eight year old smiles tonight and laughs at the one year old who is putting on a show for everyone. I can almost see the healing as the laughter bubbles out. A second chance to love and be loved by a younger sibling. The hurt recedes for a moment and he is just a normal boy without a wound.
Not a meal goes by at this table that I do not think of her. I know she would help me manage this crew of wild ones, contribute her joy, giggle at the sillies, say “eeew, that’s gross.” at all the right moments…
Phoebe’s boys are a lot of work, and sometimes a boy-mom just needs a quiet space away from all the action. But tonight, these boys are at my table, and in the days that stretch out but fly by, they will change shape. They will shed the round edges of boyhood, become disenchanted with their Legos and light sabers. They will leave my table, just as Phoebe has, and these flash-frame moments will be the hidden treasures of my heart.