I think about my kids a lot. And I think about that word. "kids". They will always be my kids. My babies.
Of course I know that they are all adults. Independent adults. When we are together it seems to be my job to recollect their childhoods and their various cute and silly, memorable pranks. Activities. Cute expressions. They are all really pretty tolerant of me though I suspect it drives them crazy sometimes. I suppose that what makes it alright is that we are all living independent of each other.
When they were babies and toddlers, I couldn't embarrass them. I was their main connection to the rest of the world. Yes, they had their dad and aunts and uncles and grandparents. But, as a stay at home mom, I was the one they spent most of their waking and sleeping hours with.
Once they started to walk and ambulate without my assistance, they would walk away from me to explore. But they knew I was always there to run back to for a nurse or a cuddle,or just a lap to sit on.
How does all of that, those early years, get to be so large in my memories? Probably a lot of it was the physicality and the primal nature of the relationship.
Even after starting school, the kids would often sit next to me, barely touching, just to be near. For a while I could even hold their hand in public. When did that stop I wonder?
Childhood is such a very short period. Baby, toddler, preschooler, elementary school, middle school, high school and that's that. College or not. Adulting. Driving, holding jobs. And ultimately, moving away.
Everyone of my babies is (are) now older than I was when I became a mother. I was 23 when I had Courtney, 36 when I had Chance.
Now I am almost 65 and I feel like I am far from done. Yes, I am done having babies, but not done living and learning. There have been some real setbacks. I am lacking the energy I want. I still think of myself as an active, high energy person.
I still want to travel and see friends all over the world. I want to read and write and sew and knit and sleep when I want and go when I want.
But, for the time being, I sort of think of myself as being on the injured reserve list. I am working on being better and getting better and feeling better.
I want to continue to be able to visit the "kids" and have them come here. I want to be a tourist visiting their worlds.
I have expectations of my adult children. They are not the expectations I had when they were younger. I used to long for the day they would be able to go to the bathroom without my help. I tried to will them to go to bed and go to sleep. To do their school work. To do chores. To bathe themselves without being told.
They did gain the ability to do all of those things a step at a time.
Now, as I see them as adults, as I relate to them as adults, I cannot judge the way they dress, fix their hair, live their lives.
My expectations, now, for the five adults I hatched out of my body are simpler and more complex. First and foremost, I want them, each and every one of them, to be happy. I want their lives to bring them joy and fulfillment enough to balance out the feelings of failure [that everyone has]. I want them to find joy in little things like a bird singing or a butterfly fluttering by. And in that joy, I hope that there is a store of good, happiness, contentment and confidence that slays the dragons of despair.
When my adult children were babies, I rarely had difficulty comforting, soothing and filling their souls and stomaches. Touch, smell, comfort, security were their primary needs and I could almost always provide that.
I am not deliberately leaving out Nick. Of course we couldn't have parented the way I strove to without Nick. But this is my writing about my thoughts and feelings.