Cradle of Civilization

A U- Haul just pulled up in my parking lot. Chad drives. BeBe is going back to college. It isn’t far.

Tuck is in California. That is far.

Is this what empty nest feels like? People tell me- well you are lucky because you still have three at home. But what I’m losing is the dynamic. The feeling. The everydayness of my family. The constantness of warmth and the different loves and essences.

Addy’s sunshine.

Tuck’s concern and determination.

BeBe’s helium.

Gidge is the angel.

Dolly is the current.

And Mim’s the tide.

They keep leaving home. They keep growing up.

They come and they go. Wrapped safely inside me. Carried for years. Toddling in softy green grass. Walking down steps caught by my hands. Riding bikes on asphalt. Swimming in the oceans. Schooling with the masses of humanity. Bullied by the hurt ones. Befriended by sweet ones. Growing away from me and toward the sky like my sunflowers lean away from my brick house stretching for the sun. Driving away in U- Hauls. Unpacking in houses I’ve never seen. Gaining talents I remember escaping them in their younger years. Washing dishes in the bar where their dad “works from home”. Giving discounts to the good customers. Singing every word to a song I never heard. Calculating equations I never understood. Navigating roads I never travelled. Believing truths I never spoke.

Educating me.

I am in awe of them.

I see them and I think my kids are so freaking cool. I was never that cool. I have a small part in their acquiring coolness as their mom but I was nowhere near this cool when I was their age. Addy’s poppy tattoo. Tuck’s gap toothed smile. BeBe’s shoe collection. Gidge’s wavy curls. Dolly’s book collection. Mim’s rainbow wardrobe.

All 6 and Mim decides to not cooperate.

I need a life that balances my personhood and my motherhood. But this was/is the time of my life. This was my dream. This was my every cell’s desire. All I wanted my arms to be was their cradle of civilization. I hold these years as my ultimate. Nothing is over. The only constant is change. And yet I mourn. I am mothering now. Mim is only 10. And so much has changed. I will have all 6 at a restaurant table and a week later, only 3 left in their beds. I thought their childhoods would last longer.

Who are these cute kids/ blooming adults? Read Cast of Characters if you need a refresher.

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