If there was ever any question that I am emotionally stunted, this morning laid all doubts to rest. For weeks after my daughter tied the knot, friends would ask how I was faring, how my mama heart was adjusting to the loss of one of my chicks. I would smile and assure them I was fine, that in my steely emotional fortitude, I hadn’t even cried on the day of the blessed event. Oh, I got all choked up and lumpy in my throat that day and I did almost lose it when they ran the gauntlet and drove away. But I managed to suck the tears back into my eyeballs and make it through just fine, thank you very much.
It took a full four months after the fact for the first tears to fall. I missed my baby. A few genteel tears fell like a soft spring mist one morning and that was that. So I thought.
It has been eight months and a day since my baby really and truly flew away…and this is the first time I’ve actually cried. You know, that heart-in-a-blender, ugly cry where your face crinkles up like a constipated newborn and your breath comes in huge, heaving gasps. That kind.
This storm of emotion came out of left field. The book I’m reading just happened to mention the song she and her brand new husband first danced to, bringing a smile to my lips at the memory of her lovely wedding day. Then, without warning, her song ran through my head as clear as day…the song she and her daddy danced to that warm September afternoon, the one song in all the world that makes me think of her sweet, sweet baby cheeks and her soft, fine hair. And I totally lost it.
I guess I’m really thick headed, but it has finally sunk in that she’s no longer mine, she won’t be coming back. Ever. And all I can think is, there is so much I still have to teach her, so much more to say, so many mistakes to make right…
But this is how it is, isn’t it? We mamas don’t get second chances. We don’t get more time. We have a limited window to hold them, to love them and teach them, to run our fingers through their hair and laugh at their childish antics.
Today, it feels like not enough.
Yet I know it is enough, and far more than I deserve. I know that if left to my own devices, I would selfishly try anything and everything to keep my chicks happy in our nest and never let them go. But as much as I would like to stop the clock I know they need to fly, to become more than they could ever be here with me.
In less than a month, my son will graduate. He plans to move out and test his own wings within the year. And I suppose about eight months after that I’ll fall apart all over again.
And again when the next one leaves…and the next.
Today, I’m reminded of how fast it does go, how the blessing of raising these beautiful people is for but a season. I’m aware of the need to stop and just soak in their presence because one day they will be gone, and my role in their lives will be totally different.
And so today I will hold them just a little tighter, just a tiny bit too long. Because a lifetime is not nearly long enough, yet it’s everything I could have imagined too.
My beautiful Father, I thank you today for the indescribable gift of being mama to these four amazing people! Thank you for showing me a glimmer of your love for me through my love for them. Thank you for this season of raising them, and for the many joys to come as I watch them fly. Amen.
Photo by bairli1 at pixabay.