messy but beautiful

Kate, Ryder and I were hanging out in the kitchen cooking and eating, dancing and singing the other day. Kate discovered a new kids and family radio station, so we had the music blaring through the speakers while we baked some chocolate cupcakes.

I love dance parties at our house. They’re typically sporadic, but that’s when the most fun happens. After cracking the last egg, Kate picked up the spoon, flipped it upside down and started singing into her self-made microphone. I followed suit with the jar of balsamic vinegar. And Ryder just danced alongside.

We were bopping around to a kids’ version of “All About that Bass” one minute then the next was a song about bag lunches. Kate and I were laughing at some of the lyrics. As we waited for the next song to start, Kate sat down to finish filling the cupcake liners with batter.

The guitar strings hummed, and a soft, ethereal version of “You Are My Sunshine” started playing.

By now we all know my relationship with that song. Normally, I would have turned the channel or muted the music. But not today. The kids and I were having too much fun to dull the moment. Maybe this was Jackson’s way of enjoying the party with us.

Hey mom, I’m right here with you, dancing along and singing my heart out. You just can’t see me, but I’m here.

I wanted to feel the music today. As Kate poured batter into the pan, I listened to the words and felt my boy with us. When I would sing this song to Jackson, I sang the chorus over and over. I didn’t even realize there was more to the song. But when I listened, I quickly learned otherwise.

“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamt I held you in my arms.  When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken, so I hung my head, and I cried.”

Kate peered over the counter. I sensed her staring at me. I’m ok with her seeing me cry for Jackson. She needs to know how deeply I love and miss him because I share the same love for her and Ryder. I slowly turned my head her way and gave her a half smile.

“Mom, am I your sunshine,” she asked.

She already knew the answer, but doesn’t everyone crave to hear how much they’re loved?

“Yes, Kate. Of course you are,” I said, my smile starting to sweep across my face. As I walked over to hug my sweet sunshine, I heard plop, plop, plop, plop, plop….By the time I turned around, tiny pieces of dog food were rolling everywhere. Hundreds of them covered the floor. And there sat my blue-eyed boy, looking innocently up at me, holding an empty tupperware container in his hands.

Sigh. As I started to clean up the mess, I couldn’t help but laugh and be grateful for these two little people in my house. They keep me joyful when I could be a mess. They keep me smiling when I could cry. And they give me hope on my darker days. My life might be painful, crazy, and messy, but it is filled with a lot love. And that brightens all my days.