That is a line from one of my favorite songs, by Joni Mitchell. It is "the circle game" .
I started to write what the song is about, but I decided that's not exactly the point. I am not trying to write about a song, but about a sentiment. An observation. Life.
I often find it difficult to believe that this house held five growing children. That seven of us sat down to dinner every night. And that we often had the kids' friends over too. So even 10 was not an unusual number of people sitting around the kitchen table. Or, the dining room if we were too big a crowd.
Austin had a group of friends over tonight to watch the Capitals game (we lost). Nick and I stayed upstairs, out of the way. It was such a memory mind bend. All of these young men are in their 20s Mid to late 20s. And I think of them as "boys" and "kids". I have known them since they were young teens.
Did we really used to have so much energy and fun and commotion going on here? These are guys that I think Austin and Chance knew mainly from high school robotics. Darcy's robotics friends are all in their 30s now. I think.
I remember Morgan having friends who he played street hockey with. And he had sleep-overs. And as a teen, Morgan (and maybe his brothers) turned a section of the basement into the "comfort zone" complete with a found sofa and some of our old drapes. They had "sound parties" and made their own kind of music. Morgan still makes his own sort of interesting music. And now he plays unicycle polo.
When Courtney's friends came over, they made a different kind of noise. A lot of squealing and laughing. I know that I brought my kids up to be feminists. But, they did develop boy/ girl behaviors. Not bad, just interesting. Also interesting is how many of the friends the kids made as young teens have remained their good friends. Over the years and over the miles.
And they, Courtney and Morgan, live thousands of miles away. They have all moved away, if not physically, as adults. They are not kids. They don't fight with each other, or climb into my lap. Any more.
I think that is the whole circle game thing. Seasons of life. Time passes. We age and change and learn and grow. But through it all, we are still who we are.
I am 61. Holey moley, how did that happen?
The other day I was looking at a mother and her young daughter. The little girl was about three years old. And I had a sudden rush of a memory. I cannot place it, but I can feel it. The memory is of Courtney, at about three, sitting in my lap. Some of her hair pulled back into a pony tail. And I could smell the sweet smell of her hair. And feel the soft tickle of her hair falling into my face.
It probably sounds strange, but I still know my children's scents. I can still remember the musky sweet newborn smell of Morgan's head, shortly after he was born. He and I hummed together. I held his soft, downy head against my cheek and hummed. And he made humming cooing sounds back.
Parenting in the early days, months, years, is very sensual. Holding. Bathing. Diapering. Co-sleeping. Almost constant contact at first. It is just so right. Exhausting at times. Sometimes too much so. But, ultimately, right.
Sometimes I get sad. Melancholy. I miss the kids. They are all adults now. Their "need" for me now is not the same. It is not so immediate and intense. We go days and weeks without talking. I could not have imagined the distance of time and place when they were small. We had a very symbiotic relationship. They needed me, and I needed them. Breastfeeding saw to that.
I think that our closeness when they were small has a lot to do with how independent they all are. So strong and such neat people they all are. How did I get so lucky?
Thank you Nick. We did good.