They’re pre-schoolers. We’re forty. We’re getting a good workout. I have sat on the floor more in the last week than I have in the last ten years combined. Every surface in my house is sticky, like every single surface. There are diapers and wipes stashed in nearly every room. I wash hands and faces all day long. I am grateful for my Dog of the Year for licking up the food off the floors so that I don’t have to sweep. I am grateful to my two teenagers for watching the small humans while I run to pee. I am grateful to my husband for running after-work errands because I just can’t. I love my church family for giving us so much clothing on such short notice, and my family for being like well come on in–the more the merrier! I nearly cried for joy twice this week over the kind staff at the community center who allowed them to come right in to the childcare while I went and ran. Probably my fastest mile time yet, I’m so not kidding, because I was burning off pure potty training angst.
They ask about/for their parents a lot. We talk to Jesus about them. I ask Jesus to watch over their parents and keep them safe and help them to be not sick. And I love Jesus and I trust Him, but under my breath I’m like, Seriously, Jesus, you better help their parents get their stuff together and let these little people see their mom and dad again because if they keep asking You, and then nothing happens, their hearts are going to break, and so is mine.
My dad had pockets of sheer tragedy throughout his young life, and he said the kids asking for their parents and not understanding what’s going on brings back some difficult memories for him. My dad is tough as nails, and his voice cracked, and I knew he meant what he said. That night I sat next to the toddler bed with the older one and prayed over him and cried, because, see, it’s like he is my dad. And it’s like I get the chance to go back in time and hold my little dad and rub his back and take care of him and keep him safe, but also I am seeing what my little dad must have gone through and then I see his life zooming forward to now–wife, kids, grandkids… I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m saying.
My fourteen-year-old is off to camp tomorrow. My sixteen-year-old is days away from seventeen, and so wise for his age. He gives me parenting advice. That I actually use. I want to spend time with every one of my eleven nieces and nephews because, dang it, they will not stop growing and their personalities are exquisite, but I don’t have time. Elusive time. I have to settle for a brief conversation here, a quick exchange there, and then a few weeks or months later I’ll see them again and they’ve grown another inch.
This blog post has a bittersweet tone, no?