Whoosh! I’d always heard people say, “The time flies by so fast. They were little and now they’re leaving home.” I’ll admit I thought these people were being dramatic. Perhaps I judged them as having put their priorities in the wrong place early on and now were regretting it. I don’t know. I hated hearing that overused reflection. Of course time moves on. Of course they’re growing up. Of course we, the parents, are boring and virtually the same, save for signs of mileage.
I cherished every last drop of raising my children. It is my proudest accomplishment. I am ashamed that I made that fact cause me to feel superior to the wise and wonderful people who shared with me their experience of how swiftly it races by. I am no different than you.
How did I get from there to here? This is certainly different than for you. Is there a gradation of correctness or quality in that journey? I think probably yes, but I am not the one to analyze it. Each individual must. I do not know the pangs you suffered nor the moments of bliss you savored. I don’t know how calmly and rationally you approached their knuckleheaded decisions. I do know how erratic and embarrassing my behavior sometimes was exhibited. I also know how much I’ve transformed, like glass held over the fire.
I started out solid and steadfast in my belief in myself as a mother, then almost instantly had it shattered. Oh how ill-equipped I was when I first held my firstborn in my arms and the adults left and the door closed and the baby cried…for me. What helplessness and utter ineptitude!
I picked up the pieces quickly and haphazardly shoved shards towards each other, trying to force me to fit back into that old, solid self. My children kept kicking the pieces apart. Their giggles and smiles prevented me from being upset, but it didn’t make the inadequacy disappear.
Then something spectacular happened. I started rebuilding with my original base and allowed the children to shape the rest of me. Sometimes the glass hovered over the fire while they blew into it, laughing again at the odd bubbles that protruded. Sometimes they hammered it back and smoothed it out into something magnificent. Stunning, really. I started to see how beautiful this motherhood had become. Others sought my advice. Ha!
Before I met my first child, I would have expected to be the spokesperson for ideal moms. As you now know that expectation imploded day one. To have others want my advice with a success record like mine? Preposterous!
What is success as a mother? I’m still thinking.
What I know is that my children have molded me, and sometimes I have let them. I believe it is true vice versa. They just don’t dare to admit it…yet.
The time is nearing its end, the time that I have to be ever-present to them. I know. I know. Once a mother, always a mother, but this is something altogether different, this place where they are all here under one roof, bothering each other, aggravating my peace, wreaking havoc on well-established theories. This is the gold that some fires liberate. This is the climax of the story of our life as a family. I sort of don’t enjoy it like I do when I’m an observer. This is heavily emotional.
Time DID zip by. It seemed so because I couldn’t see which way was up half the time. I was trying to piece things together. Keep in mind, it wasn’t only me I was piecing together. I haven’t mentioned the chaos of the children’s search for identities, too. Oh, and that precarious thing called marriage to boot.
Abruptly, time froze.
I rarely appreciate the denouement of a story or play. It seems a letdown. I like the challenge of keeping up with all the plots and subplots, anticipating what might happen next and being surprised by a twist or two. Looooove that! Don’t love the aftermath.
Something tells me the opposite will be true in reality. I might appreciate the end of the story this time much more. It’s hard to tell. Time is frozen for the moment. I keep telling myself I need to keep trudging through this mucky morass of a place to find out.
I also have this galling notion a wrench may be thrown when I least expect it. Do I have to fragmentize again? How in the world do you reconstruct? Share your wisdom with me? Please? I promise my arrogance was left in the embers. What next?