In a few short days we will take our fourth child off to college. In fact, in the same trip we will be delivering two daughters to their respective places of higher learning. That will leave only our bonus baby - now nearing double digits - at home. It feels bittersweet.
I'm not gonna lie, there have been times when parenting a whole handful of kids has been almost more than I could handle. But for the most part, it has been a blessing. We've watched them grow into caring, mostly responsible adults with aspirations to make the world a better place. Now, we're back to the waiting and wondering stage...
What will they be?
Where will they live?
Who will they love?
Will they forget everything we taught them?
When will they be back?
Why did we worry so much?
Time will tell.
I commemorate this new stage of "almost empty nestdom" with a poem. I hope you like it. And, if you see one of my kids being their awesome selves out in the world, tell 'em their momma misses them.
I Loved You, First
I loved you,
first with hungry heart waiting,
worried you would arrive with too few fingers or toes,
or that I, in my own imperfection, would somehow fail you.
I loved you then -
shaken by the ferocity of feelings your squirming, six-pound frame evoked -
with a heart so full of pride it must burst.
I watched you crawl, then walk, then run
and knew there would be no holding you back
when the time came for you to fly.
Year after year,
pouring out my love
my heart grew inexplicably more full,
expanding to envelop your siblingssometimesrivals
like some mad sci-fi monster, never sated
and spiraling to ruin
...because by then, you see,
I had realized that,
I would love you all
with a heart broken only by my own fragile expectations.
One by one you leave the nest,
ready to conquer the world,
and my heart is still full -
full of awestruck, fearsome powerful love,
finely tempered by these hollowed, mother bird’s bones
which still, and forever, remember
that was mine
Dear readers: I hope you all had relaxing summers, and that this next season finds you supercharged for whatever challenges lay ahead. Keep writing, keep reading, and keep your chin up! We can make a difference in this world by daring to be our best selves!
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