When I started this blog, back in 2011, it was on the advice of my therapist. She was helping me to come to terms with my newly empty nest, and the loss of my mothering days.
My three kids had grown up, and had all moved out within two months of each other. I was a wreck. I mourned every day. I missed cooking for them. I fell apart in the grocery store just watching other mothers with their little ones.
The sight of a children’s book reduced me to sobs. In fact, I once had to run out of Toys R Us while trying to shop for a baby shower gift; I was in the book section and I stumbled upon “Love You Forever.”
I couldn’t hear certain songs without tears. I couldn’t make certain meals without tears.
It was ridiculous. But I couldn’t help it.
Gradually, I pulled myself together. I learned to enjoy the relative peace of the house and the time to reconnect with my husband. It got better. My kids grew into their lives but still touched base with us often.
And my daughter had babies.
That helped a whole big, fat boatload.
I became Nonni. I retired from teaching and began to spend my days, once again, rocking little ones, serving alphabet noodles, singing lullabies.
My equilibrium returned and all was well.
But, guess what?
Kids keep on growing. They keep on getting bigger and more independent. They change. They pull on her heartstrings at the most surprising times.
Last week I was putting little Johnny in for his nap. He loves books, and asked me to “read three books!” We were snuggled under the blanket, and my little two year old sweetie was following every word of each book.
We got to one of my favorites, “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.
As I read each page, John’s head was resting on my shoulder. I could feel his breath on my cheek, his hair against my neck.
He was focused on the pictures as I read to him about how Max sailed across night and day and came to the land of the Wild Things.
“And when he came to the place where the wild things are
they roared their terrible roars….”
As I read those words, my sweet boy said, “Rawr!!!!” and my eyes instantly flooded with tears.
He sounded exactly like his Momma had sounded thirty years ago. For a second, it was her breath on my cheek, her soft brown hair on my neck, her shining dark eyes on the page.
Time turned back, in an instant. And I missed my little girl so deeply that I could barely breathe.
But then I heard Johnny tapping his teeth together near my ear. I took a breath, and kept on reading,
“…..and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”
Isn’t love a funny thing?