Tuesday, October 26, 2010

when they grow up

The seven of us, prior to any of us ever moving out!
back l-r: Linda, Rose, Brian, Mary
front l-r: me, Amanda, Arthur
There was a storm last night. The wind began whipping the trees around early in the evening as I lay on my bed reading. The boys were working in their rooms. Dinner was frozen pizzas and salad. We all ate alone which was the saddest thing of all; to inhabit a house with others and not have a meal with them. Chuck had been downtown with a friend, so I sat at the table and Dylan retreated to his bedroom, plate in hand. That is okay. We had a family meal on Sunday. Ray had come over for spaghetti and home-made meatballs, for salad and cheese-bread and butternut squash, for various and sundry left-overs. Some sibling angst had flared up between the younger two. It was brief.

There is a strangeness to middle age. There is a strangeness that I have not quite come to grips with. It is like an unbearthing, as if a ship had been freed of its moors and let out to sea, rudderless. All of the things I have been working on for the past twenty years are suddenly, gone. The house is sold. The boys are moving out and moving on. Their lives are larger and more intricate than I even know or possibly, want to know. In other words, their lives are theirs and have little to do with me.

My parents, mother in particular, felt that the day would never come when we would all be out of the house. Dad would say after we were all gone, "See, and you thought the day would never come when they would all be in school".  But that day did come and now Dad is gone and how quickly time passes and we say again and again, "How quickly time passes" but it seems that the ability to truly grasp that statement does not occur until it has happened, until time has passed.

When the boys were young I knew that the day would be here when they would no longer be young, when they would no longer run up to me and kiss me on the cheek and want to hug me and have me read to them as they sat on my lap. All the trials and exhaustion of raising three boys into young men is nearly over. The only thing left is to make facile statements like: "If you continue on the road you're taking the outcome could be very bad." To which the son to whom it was said laughed and replied "Okay mommie." His life hasn't changed and there is a  certain pain in watching a child work through what you believe are  mistakes. On the other hand our youngest son says, "I still don't know what I want to do with my life" as he leafs through brochures and looks at colleges and considers options insisting that next year he will "get out of Missouri". Anywhere but here. Anyone but us.

Oh yes. There are horizons and challenges and things that our children separate from, things that they hold on to, things that are shaping their lives while I look on and wonder truly what will be the outcome, their's and mine. But that is tomorrow and we only have today and it is a glorious day!

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart." Proverbs 3: 3

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