I spoke with a mother of teenagers on the phone tonight. It was nearly 6pm and she apologized for interrupting our dinner. I assured her our dinner had ended long ago and we were on our way to bath time. She seemed to pause on the phone, and then sigh with a mix of memory and longing. “I wish we had a reason to eat early at our house. I miss those days.” And I knew what she meant.
Though her children still live at home, they can drive now and they have grown. They eat with their friends, at odd hours, on the run, or not at all. They have places to be, things to do, day timers of their own. They have deadlines to keep, relationships to pursue, tests to ace, things to prove. They are eager for life to begin. And their mother…well, she is watching and waiting and available. And she is preparing for the day when her babies leave the house and are on their own for real.
I don’t always enjoy the life stage that I am in. But tonight, I can’t get enough of it. I am breathing in his downy scent in a desperate attempt to hold on. I am watching the girls play make-believe with barbie dolls and baby bears. Their faces so soft, doughy, flawless. I am praying for their spouses, for the mothers of their spouses..women who are just like me somewhere in the world, taking care of these little ones during days that seem to go on forever.
But you know, they won’t. So tonight, after a full day of play and poop, I am thankful.