This morning I took the kids out to their favorite park, as requested. It felt like it had been quite some time since I’d had fresh air. Perhaps because we had been snow-bound for a while, or perhaps because my children and I have moved into a different phase in our life together, the three of us had a very harmonious hour and a half on the park grounds (read: they let me go to the bathroom without drowning themselves in the sea; Nels did not run away in the opposite direction of Sophie *every single chance he got*, I actually listened to and followed the suggestions of my wee ones instead of barking out orders while clutching my precious, precious coffee). I attended them in the childish activities that to many must look boring: swings, monkey-bar spotting (my son copies everything his older sister does, no matter how terrifying to himself or me), leaf-scuffing, creek bed exploring. Instead of fervently hoping for another Mama to join me, or allowing my mind to race about thinking of chores I have to do, beans to soak, toilets to scrub, I just accepted I was not doing any of those things *now* and I really attended my little ones. I sat, swung, walked with them. We ate lovely, heavenly fresh hearth rolls from the uptown bakery and they took my breath away with the beauty that bloomed on their rosy cheeks and noses.
I find myself begrudging how quickly my children are growing up. Why do I ever want any stage, any difficulty, to end? I should desire and hold onto everything, and I mean everything. The late nights, the crying, the clinging at naptime. A year ago I was breastfeeding my son and could still remember, vividly, breastfeeding and diapering my daughter. Now I am adrift, afloat, no longer a physical necessity except in my performance of slave labor (daily) that I now have learned to love. Now. My children are both potty-trained, both weaned, and I am ten pounds heavier in part because every day I think of, shop, buy, and prepare their food. And I make no milk. No nursing; I realized the other day with a small, angry mix of pride and sadness that *just anyone* could take care of my children now (although, of course, no one else really does). I suppose this was true from the day they were born, but my unique gifts of my milk, my love, my voice, my intelligence, my body, and the pain in the ass of a diapered child somehow kept them more within my exclusive realm. Now I know they are growing upward and onward, and although they will always remained tethered to me and I have formed a Goddess-image for them – they will need me less and less. It is time for them to take flight a little more and for me to pull back into myself, my art, my work, my marriage – just enough to not resent their going.
As I type this my children, back from a fancy-festive Christmas party, are putting together their new Christmas gifts (note that Nels’ comes with a key-fob so you can take your precious pets with you – “up to 18 hours” and I don’t have to tell you what happens after 18 hours). With dad’s help, of course.