Part way there

There were these two days in my life with no going back.
April 13, January 14.
They put this precious baby in my hands,
said, “he is yours.”
I chose to become a parent,
Each of them, on some level, chose to become our child.
Without knowing, we each made an agreement
at that first meeting:
I will be yours. You will be mine.

That contract includes clauses for which there is no negotiation,
Just a blind acceptance of roles, of importance, of connection.
I believe the first agreement, the one that is nearly impossible to break,
Was love. I love each of them. It’s simple. And constant. Like breathing.
And I see them loving me, even when it hurts, even when I disappoint them,
Or shock them, or fail.

And I have failed.
Because I believe
the second agreement we make,
Is to show up.
Simply. Constantly. To show up.
And to keep showing up each and every moment.
When the rain is leaking into the car window,
When there isn’t enough money for groceries,
When it has been 4 days since I have had time alone,
Or 4 days since I have been touched.

And though the love never wanes,
showing up has been a struggle for me.
It’s getting to be less of a struggle, but I notice that
On some level, this change makes them uncomfortable.
Because it is a new set of instructions, half way through,
And also because this is their time to venture forth without us.
So I find myself steeped in this precious remorse.
They say it is never too late to start,
But there is no do-over.
What I gave is what they got.

On some level, they chose us,
so they must have gotten what they need.
But now that I know ME better,
I see that I was capable of more.
And so I find myself looking at young families and wondering…
How many precious moments did I miss?
How much joy in the sigh a baby makes when you watch him sleep?
How much listening to the toddler babble did I tune out with my noisy impatience?
Why did we forget to dance more?
How many times do I let the television take my seat?

And here comes another life change,
Menopause is looming, as loudly as their impending adulthood.
And I find myself longing to be with more little people.
A deep longing like the one I felt before I met Max and James.
What does this longing tell me?
Is it a request to go back and heal old wounds.
Is it a placeholder for their future children?
Or perhaps it is some other calling I am meant to hear.

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