Its in moments like these that Momma writers write. That choke with emotion and rip and tear at the heart with a splendid mix of joy and well, joy.
Because we were just here. This place of lap sitters and all three fit and we could cozy all up in one green rocker. This is where we were. We lived in this place for a season. Of small and growing. This world of teddies and double strollers, cheerioed floors.
This place of babble and missing teeth and a cookie in the hand solved all the worlds problems, if just for a minute. Of primitive glorious childrens art taped to frig, framed and hung, propped and celebrated.
And now we are someplace else. We’ve done life for such a long time now, as family. Our launching pad into life is sending out and its painful joy. Today we are two colleges a day in the mailbox people. One for her and one for him. Or it seems that way and that’s what matters.
And today she is leaving home to drive to a big city and I’m breathless with anxiety about the leaving home at all. A new zipcode is a new zipcode. There are bridges to drive over. The ones she did a school project on in sixth grade. Now hurrying out the door bag in hand to go over the bridge to a far away land. The city where I met her father– the Patient One. Its too fast. And its too soon.
But punctuating this moment, this blur of time in a tidal wave of what happened to the green rocking chair lap moments, middle son calls out to her, wait.
Door cracked, sunny day cool air rushing in, words between these two, twelve months apart come sweetly up the stairs and waft into my need.
He slows her down. He hugs her tender and big brother gentle covers her small frame and my bulging heart. ” Remember, God then Family.” And I ask him why he said it. His reply, “Because momma that’s what you always say to us.”
Time, you are a funny thing. You race. You slow. You creep. You blur fact. You deliver good.
So recently a friend shared this parental covering and I had recently, so recently covered mine with this. This admonition to remember whose they are in all they say and do. And he picked up the parental mantle and chose to wear it at that moment.
Some how I now know that words are heard, words are penetrating, words matter a lot.
These two walk tandem through my world now and sixteen and seventeen cross-over prom and friends and college queries.
She’s off to a city with an international airport just for the night. Just to explore and experience life, as she should. My pain and my grieving fade in the background as I shout to her, I am so worried and I don’t like this at all.
I have barely recovered from my momma trauma when he announces he’s headed off to the river with a friend. These tandem teenage moments knock me like a second wave knocks down swimmers in the surf as they barely recover from one crushing blow. Doomed by fatigue from wrestling the undertow and incoming waves. Their combined force is power and it is might. Staggering to get up and recover, only to be sent face down into the grit of sand and sea. Spinning wildly under the cruel crush of water and wave. Pairs of life moments. Waves of emotion.
And hours earlier its prom fittings and giggles on the coach. My lap empty. But my heart full. Plans for tuxedo fittings and color matching kick youth out of the way. The now is a bully and she is here. She kicks baby toy memories out of her way.
Phone calls to set up college visits hang in the air as that refrigerator door taunts my past. They were just piled up on that Easter day with diapers and missing teeth and white knuckling graham crackers. Time teases. Memory sweeps in with her blurring of years. Baby ducklings, swingsets and trampolines take their place in another time and place. College applications, SATS and campus tours push and shove their way. Childish toys are retired. Summer jobs elbow their way to the frontline of life. And prom. Two proms.
Long gowns replace smocked dresses. And its all as it should be. My heart will catch up one day to this day.
But for now I know that words were heard. Words of love, of discipline, of teaching and encouragement. Cautionary tales were told and penetrated the heart and the head. Words that strengthened and supported and walked us to this point. Words that undergirded and called out to build character and trust and faith. Words that told of Jesus.
All because middle child said, wait, then hugged , then said, don’t forget “God, then Family.” In love, with love, because he was loved.