I skipped both birthday letters for my Spring babies. That is a first. Ever. I am either a horrible mother or I am paralyzed, still, with the waiting that comes prior to my eldest child leaving home. It’s like a pregnancy, but worse. With a pregnancy, I could imagine a baby. I cannot even imagine a house without Luke in it. I had to leave my space in line at TJ Maxx when Beautiful Boy came on the store speakers so that I could go cry in my car. My husband thinks I am bananas. He says, “Time to kick that bird out. Let go.” I know it’s the only direction to go. I’m getting bolder. Even children get older. That’s right. Go ahead. Play Landslide. I dare you.
As we move forward, however, I fall more in love. In 2005 I was with a student and his aunt in New York city and I was limping on what later turned out to be a broken foot. The aunt, an acupuncturist, demanded that I lie down on a bench in Central Park. She put a thousand needles into my skin and kept muttering to herself that I had “mother’s disease.” She implied that building a life around children was risky business. That my heart could not handle the stages of my life. She then instructed me to drink a gallon of water. I drank a bottle of wine. When I woke up 12 hours later in my hotel room, my tongue was jet black.
As I write this, Quinn is having a meltdown about TV. I could not find his show on Netflix. He is banging his head on the ground and repeatedly shrieking the word, “No.” He is kicking the couch and squeaking. Tears are flooding his face so heavily that he is starting to choke on them. One day he will leave for college too, and at the moment, that sounds fine by me. Perhaps I have romanticized motherhood, after all. Perhaps my tongue turned black because I had surpressed screaming myself. Maybe I will make a new Pinterest board and title it, “My House is Mine Again,” and I will fill it with breakable, fragile, gorgeous, minimal things with sharp corners that no one can leave fingerprints on or slice open a forehead on. A white couch. A white carpet. A coffee table made of metal.
I have ignored Quinn’s tantrum for so long now that he forgot about Spongebob and about television completely and is now playing with a noisy puzzle, sitting on a stack of four pillows. Now the dog is whining (her new old-age habit). I will create yet another Pinterest board called, “The Sound of Silence.”
Some birthday letter this is. Luke and Lizzie, you both chose pie over cake for your birthdays and that’s how I know you are mine. You both made the spring musical, Tarzan, so beautiful, that it will forever sit right in the center of my heart. I look back at photos of you both when you were small and I cannot imagine how life sped up so quickly. I imagine a giant fast forward button in the hands of God and that as soon as you turned eight, He forgot to take his hand off the button.
The processional at my own eighth grade graduation (William’s is two weeks away), we sang Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds. “To everything, turn, turn, turn. There is a season, turn, turn, turn. And a time for every purpose under heaven.” It was our principal, Sr. Joselma’s, favorite song, but I think we sang it just so that our mom’s would cry. A time you may embrace. A time to refrain from embracing.
Maybe when I let go and you are both out of this small and cozy nest, leaving two brothers in your jet-stream, you will glance back and feel a tug of home. I hope so. I hope that the concept of home always makes you feel just a tiny bit nostalgic and that despite everything, you know it means love. For me, it has been a constant heartbeat.
I am super proud to announce that Lukemizer is now an official dot com thing. Check out Luke’s new wordpress site: lukemizer.com.
Oh, you have been missed. The friction of that Pinterest moment, celebrating the Sound of Silence, even as you mourn the hasty passage of time. I sit mourning the fact that my oldest is now 8 and my youngest is headed to kindergarten… but then my six-year-old keeps swatting at my phone as I read and I want him to go away. The irony. I say, find the joy of these moments and paint yourself with it. I’ll try to do the same.
This gorgeous post will stay with me all day. Yours usually do.
Thanks, Jen. I really do feel like I haven’t been able to write much because of this reality. It’s like slowing down to watch a car wreck. Can’t blog while witnessing, I suppose. Luke is moving to the west coast. Might as well be Australia. Excited for him, but … Well, you know. Xoxo k
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful !!!!