The early morning light in my bedroom is grey today, which is unusual for late July. It is Sunday. My Yorkie, Jasper, is curled in the center of my bed in that warm sleepiness that I left behind to move to this oversized oatmeal armchair that is my writing perch.
The house is heavy with silence. My children are spending the weekend with their father for his birthday. This is the preview. This is how my mornings will be when, in just a few weeks my son, Marc, returns to his third year at college across the country and my daughter, Melissa, starts her first.
As I sit here, my mind files through old Sunday morning images of their childhood. I struggle to live, just for a moment, in the flashbacks. The soft thump of toddlers’ bare feet running on the wood floor, screams of delight as they chase each other. The demands for breakfast in those little voices that question everything with a slight head tilt and scrunched brow.
Then there were the pre-teen years; the two of them, pajama clad, sleepy and hair tousled in front of the television. SpongeBob managing to drown out the clamor of spatulas, pots and plates as I prepared mini waffles or scrambled eggs.
In high school, they rarely surfaced before ten. They slept, dream-filled and safe, through morning cartoons.
During those teen years, there was no sound of them when I woke, but I still opened my eyes to a sense of symmetry. There was a feeling of balance in knowing I was on one side of the house and they were on the other. They were the two weights that calibrated the scale that is my life.
Since their births, I have thought of this time when they would both leave for college. I have always felt peace in recognizing that it is part of the brilliant unfolding of life. How rewarding it has been to feel the evolution of my relationship to them. The grip of their doughy baby fingers around mine that later became tight toddler neck squeezes. As they continued to grow, they reached for my hand to guide and reassure. The years pushed us forward. Each one unfolded, vibrant tapestries woven from moments of joy, sadness, surprise. Now we share long hugs and those knowing glances that only people with deep connection give each other. What an immense privilege to have been their anchor, feel their love and to witness them expand at life’s insistence.
Of late I have felt a squishy swelling in my heart. It is pride and excitement for them to be on the cusp of the kind of adventures and absolute possibilities that only youth allows, but I feel a slight sting. They have carried me through the years. Marc and Melissa have been the foundation of my purpose, the reason for my truth. My ache is not from a sense of loss but a feeling of impermanence. The reality that nothing remains unchanged is bitter, but it is also magnificent. They will never need me in the same way, but I have a deep knowing that, no matter what lies ahead, their lives began in my arms and every layer since was built on the foundation of that love.
The sun is setting. Sunday is almost over. I have just returned to my writing perch. The kids are back from the weekend with their father. Melissa is listening to music in her room. I walk in and watch her as she tries on necklaces in front of the mirror. Marc is playing with Jasper, laughing. There is life in the house and its precious sounds are fleeting.
I have always been aware of this time arriving. I have prepared to have a life that will hold me up and bring new chapters. There is relief that I can explore, unencumbered, the years that lie ahead. My children will stay the constant thread, but the weave will be looser, less entangled. There will be another shift in our relationship and it will be bittersweet. They will come back for weekends, holidays, summers, and we will laugh and love and share stories from our lives apart. But, while they are gone, Sunday mornings will be my moment to miss them. I will lie in bed a few minutes longer with my eyes closed and find one Sunday morning memory. I will swim in it, smile, be grateful and then I will get up and open the shades.
Thank you for allowing me to speak my truth. Feel free to comment below. It’s more fun with you in the mix.
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