I'm lying beside her this morning, and I can't help but notice how very, very long my daughter has grown. She's nearly as tall as I am, though she's only 9 years old. She still loves to sleep in our bed, and with Patrick gone for the week, there is plenty of room to share.
This doesn't last, you know. You think you will never get a moment's peace and privacy and then, you do. You get so much privacy, that you are lonely. They leave your bed and never come back. Inevitably, it always happens. I mean, it's supposed to happen, and I don't particularly want 3 grown adult offspring needing to cuddle in Mom and Dad's bed, so I'm not upset that our boys no longer sleep in our bed, but knowing that my daughter, my last baby, is close to making that transition... it slices right through my heart.
I think I know why parents and kids fight. When you have a baby, the connection is so deep, so complete, and you cannot imagine ever needing anything else in life other than knowing that you can love and protect this small, perfect person. It is a sort of betrayal to that love when you realize that, as they grow up, they do not reciprocate this intense devotion. True, children love their parents, but they desire the one thing that destroys this primal need of your own. To move on and into their own lifes, always stretching and pulling away. When you love someone so completely, it is physically painful to not have it reciprocated in full.
She's only 9...she's ALREADY 9. Moments ago, I held her sleeping body beside mine and the premonition of what is to come thrust its way into my consciousness until I grudgingly acknowledged it. It rests there, in my mind, this vision of my 3 children, my sons and my daughter; this glimpse of a future where a business trip for my husband means that I will sleep alone, dream alone, and have no one to shake awake and share the day with. Knowing the future can complicate the present. How do you live in the moment when the future has been foretold?
Someday, they may have children of their own. It will occur to them that maybe, perhaps, their own mother looked upon their faces and physically craved their skin the way they do their own babies. It will feel impossible, as it felt for me, when I envisioned my own mother as a young mom, staring upon my infant face, touching her cheek to mine. I hope they take a moment to really see me and acknowledge the primal bonds that connect us. I hope my own mom knows how deeply I love her, and that I acknowledge her loss of that connection we once had.
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