The Toyota delivered 2 out of 3 of my babies down the gravel drive a couple weeks ago. Exhausted and laden with dirty laundry, appetites and stories, we gathered them gratefully in.
After a few weeks of rest and a slow devolving into routines of the past, they are abruptly gone again.
Bitter and sweet. From start to finish, parenting requires a mouth full of both.
I found this slightly blurry too far away picture on my phone this week. I’ve zoomed in and tried to sharpen it up. I’ve played around with all the filters. It makes me so happy to see us hanging out like ducks in a row and at the same time I’m frustrated because I know the picture could have been better. And I can’t go back.
It’s not perfect yet it reflects the one word that encompasses my job as parent, in one strong wave of mixed emotion. The most sweetly bitter experience of my life.
We deliver our children into this world in a blur of excited pain. They become inextricably woven into our story. For decades. And then life requires us to redeliver them over and over into their own stories. The excitement of it no less painful than the day we first met them.
As parents, with each hello and goodbye, we are left with the gaping holes and frayed edges of story separation. All the changes coming to their lives force us to make our own. Such a bittersweet inevitability.
So what’s there to do but go into a mother’s default setting. I load them up with fresh laundry, restock their vitamins and coffee and deodorant, and make sure they have haircuts and a few extra pounds, until all that’s left is celebration and mourning wrapped up in one casual goodbye.
He gives and takes away in a thousand different ways.
So the story goes.