When things go according to the way they should, your children will leave you.
It’s a sobering thought if you’re lightyears away from that day, but time can be a jerk, stretching days impossibly long but shriveling years tiny, so when the time comes you shake your head in disbelief wondering how in the world did you get from there to here. I know, it’s befuddling.
Your home will grow quiet. Your days will find more hours. And nights will return to lovers who needn’t lock doors.
Memories will surface through rose-colored glasses and you’ll forget all the mental weariness and physical exhaustion. You’ll romanticize what it means to be up all night with a sick baby, and having to read a dozen books before bed, and your kid praying for every person they’ve ever known just to stay up seconds longer. You’ll think it sweet, the constant wiping of noses and behinds and highchair trays covered in smashed banana and peas. You’ll forget about running out of wipes and the streaks of crusty dried snot on everything you own.
You’ll only remember that kissing a boo boo brings healing and a Disney Band-aid brings happiness.
On special occasions you’ll receive a call, unexpected but welcome from one of them. He or she will need to know things they know you know, and your spirit will strum joy and your heart will beat happy, answering each question with all the right answers.
Families write stories, and sometimes a child needs help remembering earlier chapters their Mama wrote.
It will be a call full of news and new things, and you’ll hear a tone so light and lovely it will quench a thirst you didn’t realize you had. Even mamas not prone to worry have a spot in their heart that never stops thinking about their children, willing and pleading and praying that all be well.
We’d gladly take a bullet for our babies; but since that isn’t likely to happen, we just wish we could insulate them from any harm, every harm, because we know the world is full of ’em.
We hear all the things our children tell us but the loudest are the ones spoken without words.
And so you hang up the call happy and full, lips smacking their satisfaction when the phone rings again. There’s a problem. Keys locked in a car, at night, away from home, the spare long lost…and you’re hours away and can’t do a blasted thing. Sure, and thankfully, a roommate is on the way, but that doesn’t mitigate the frustration, so you do what you’re wired to do, the only thing you can do at a time like this, and offer the counsel of who to call and what to do next.
The tremble in her voice breaks your heart the same way her skinned knees and hurt feelings did a thousand years ago.
Then you realize the gift in all of it, that you’ve never stopped being her mama and sometimes you’re the only one who knows the things she needs to know or can fix a thing or at least make it better, and that sometimes kissing a boo boo looks like a phone glued to your wide open ear, listening for words spoken and not.
Yes, your babies will one day leave you house but they’ll never leave your heart.
And perhaps the sweetest thing is you never leave theirs.