Then I read this beautiful, evocative and powerful essay at The Things We Carried on war and mothers and children. I've reproduced here a portion of the essay that struck a chord, but please do read the entire thing (click on the link above).
My mind tumbles back to the days my miniature men played in the yard, their long skinny legs clad in summer shorts, and their little boy frames wearing brightly colored tee shirts. I wish I could walk to the back door, once more, slide open the screen, and yell in my too loud mom means business voice, "Chris, Eric, Michael, David, come in for dinner. Wash your hands, guys! Tiffanie come downstairs. After dinner we will have a scary movie The Birds and root beer floats." Their childish voices ring in my ears as I write.
If given the chance, I would surely kiss each of their faces as they came through the back door and down the stairs. Certainly, I would turn from the dishes, make eye contact with them, and capture the sweetness of their faces in my memory so much more than I did. I would allow their friends to stay for dinner. I would no longer require an immaculately clean house that has grown too quite, far too quiet, to wrap itself around me.