After Supper

By Jerilyn Burke

One of my favorite moments of the day during the warm weather months is after supper. After my children put their dishes in the sink and sweep up the inevitable crumbs. After coming together as a family, sitting around the table, taking an inhale of love for one another, nourishing more than our bodies. It is the moments after this breathing in: the exhale, when the back door slightly slams and the children run to their swings. Swinging, swinging, they are together yet apart in these moments, quietly swinging, quiet all around. The sun is still bright but beginning its descent.  Their silence amplifies the noises all around. The birds’ melody is crisp and clear. The wind in the leaves joins in the song. Even the swoosh of passing vehicles adds to the arrangement.  Swishhhh, swooshhhh.

They swing and they take it all in. The glorious blue sky and the white shape-shifting clouds, the scent of lavender, the tea roses, the catmint. The summer solstice is around the corner and the outside world is vibrant and alive. Somehow, our small backyard is an immense, awakened world of its own. The children take it all in.

I look at them from our kitchen window. I often see them examining a blade of onion grass or lemon clover and tasting the greenness of these unassuming plants. I am content in their contentedness.

As I attend to the task of cleaning up supper, one of the last tasks of a day full of tasks, I hear the back door slightly slam. It is my son with a handful of tangled up, bright purple, sweet smelling catmint. “Mom, can I bring these over to our neighbor’s house?” I inhale. It is another request, another decision for me to make, another yes or no in a day full of yeses and nos. At the end of the day, parenthood is not always graceful, and it is just about time they got ready for bed. I look at him and then I see him, his eyes bright like starlight, the blue sky and the still bright setting sun behind him, the wild looking bunch of catmint in his hand, the sweetness of his request resonating in the air, and say, “Sure, my darling. Can you ask your sister to cross the street with you?”

Jerilyn Burke is a mother of three who, for several years, ran a home nursery program called Daffodil Row Playgarden. This fall she will begin her first year as a lead kindergarten teacher at The Waldorf School of Philadelphia. She took the LifeWays Training in Pennsylvania and is passionate about LifeWays and Waldorf education as well as supporting others on their parenthood journey.