Sometimes life seems to conspire against us.
Or for us. I’m not entirely sure.
But there are key points in life where every event seems designed to wring emotion from our hearts. Where all of life’s resonance seems work together to create a touching and beautiful chord.
I am in just such a place right now, and I find myself compelled to warn my friends and relations. “Waterworks alert!” I tell them. I say, “Every part of my life is coming together to capture me in a net of emotion. I will be teary. Don’t freak out; just hand me a tissue.”
I’ll give you an example of what I mean. Last Thursday I went to a meeting with a lawyer, checking on the status of my Mother’s estate. My Mom is healthy and hearty and living independently in her own home, but the conversation itself was a reminder that she is nearing her final chapter. I find myself wanting to simplify and clarify my relationship with her while there is still time. I want to be sure that I say everything that needs to be said. It makes me sad just to think about it.
And my middle child, my sweetly idiosyncratic boy, came home last week for some loving care while he was recovering from oral surgery. While he was here we had a small bulldozer working in the side yard. The last time that a bulldozer worked here, Matt was a year and half old, and he had to stand on a stool to look over the windowsill that now comes to his mid-thigh. As we watched the work, I looked up at his six foot three inch frame. I could clearly see the golden haired boy who once stood at rapt attention gazing out the same window, breathlessly recounting every move of the tractor in his husky baby voice. I felt the pressing of time on my neck as I watched him, remembering the baby he was such a short time ago. My heart squeezed. More emotion.
Add in this fact: My third child, my baby, is graduation from college next week. Wasn’t he just born a year ago?! How do I begin to understand that my last “dependent” won’t be one any longer? I am excited for him, but I suspect that it is hard for him to be leaving his happy college days behind him. Is he worried about the future? Is he sad to say good bye to so many friends? How can it be that I don’t know the answer to these questions? I gave birth to him! I held him under my own heart; how can he be so grown up that I don’t know what he is feeling? So much emotion!!
And then there is this: My only daughter is getting married this summer. I spent today shopping for her dress. We were with her Maid-of-honor, a beautiful young woman who I have knowns since her birth. When they were little, the girls used to play “Double Wedding” out on the lawn. I am breathless with the realization that both are now planning weddings, and that they will stand up for each other. Just the way we once dreamed…….
And yesterday I was at school with my fifth grade team. We were having our weekly meeting, talking about lessons and kids. I am the wise old woman on our team. Another teacher, Amy Jo, is new to the profession, but is a young mother of two girls. The third member of our team, Caitlin, is my daughter’s age, and is due to deliver her first child in a few short weeks. We were going over our usual teacher business when suddenly Caitlin grabbed my hand. “Want to feel the baby?”, she asked with a smile. I placed my hand on her swollen stomach, and Amy Jo put hers right next to mine. We all paused, waiting. I looked at our three hands; the hands of three women who love each other and who love this not-yet-known little boy. I could feel how connected we all are, how much our lives have been woven together. I felt that little boy moving, and my mind went right to my own little ones, who I first met as they moved inside of me.
I looked at our three hands, and I thought of the healing power of love, and of the “laying on of hands”. I thought about how time moves in unending circles, and my eyes filled with tears.
Time is not a river, or a ribbon, or a journey. Time is an eternal circle, coming back again and again to the moment when a woman comes to know the brand new being who lives and moves within her.
Waterworks alert. I can’t believe that I am the wise old woman of the village. I can’t believe that Caitlin is having her baby. I can’t believe that my boys are all grown up, or that my own baby girl will be getting married and starting her own life circles.
Around and around it goes. Life conspires to remind us that it is all about change, and growth and moving on.