As I sat down to write about my children today, I looked to recent pictures of them for inspiration. Oh my goodness: they are huge, these children of mine. Large, long-limbed actual people now, with leg hair and bed head and bodies that need to be bathed after soccer practice. I guess that last realization can’t really be made from photographs, but still.
They are almost eight and five and I am pinching self, wondering, cliché-like: How is this happening so very fast?
Will it always be this way? Every year or milestone that passes, will I catch myself unawares, startled at the obvious – the realization that these young people are growing and thriving under my neurotic, worried gaze? No, not just thriving - blooming beautifully despite the strep throats and kicks to the head during sibling tickle fights that leave them fine and me with my heart constricted for days following. They are so very normal, these two. Extra-normal. Smart and sweet and funny and real and not at all perfect. And I swear it was just a minute ago my boy Finn had some bug or another and we spent the day on the couch, him sucking his pacifier and me soothing myself with Mint Milanos and then, all of sudden, it’s this moment and I go to hug him goodbye and there’s just this small voice coming from underneath my breast bone where I’m holding him so tightly and it’s his voice muffled, saying:
“Can I go now?”
That sound, dear readers? It’s the sound of my heart breaking. No, Finn, you can’t, my irrational, silly little heart cries. No one is going anywhere, my heart stomps it’s foot in protest. Not you or your sister or your childhood. We are all staying right here, eating Drumsticks for dessert and fighting over whom will get the chocolate ones. We are staying in this moment, which is so good, where we play Sequence four times (until Finn wins finally) and listen to Reese read beautifully from Pinkalicious, and where we still all fit cozily in Chris’ and my bed for morning cuddle time before facing the world which is pulling at all of this, trying to unravel all of this joy - merely so these beautiful and kind two people can go on and out into the world, making it more beautiful and kind with each of their breaths, their hearts.
I guess it’s OK. Sad, but OK.