Our community came together one day in June to raise the frame of our home–along with 3-year-old Aidan who spent the day hammering nails into the floorboards of what would be our kitchen; and 8-year-old Lloyd who knelt beside his preschool & primary teachers laying down the floor to what would become his bedroom; and Casey, age 38, who lifted beams with friends & family (and even strangers) to realize a dream come true; and me, age 40, who never had the chance to live in one place very long and who climbed the frame at the end of the day and tapped an evergreen branch to its peak while everyone cheered below.
14 years have passed.
14 wedding anniversaries.
14 winters & springs.
Over the years, Casey spoke of needing an addition—the living room was always too small; but I countered that the boys would be gone someday and the house was already too large for two.
“Someday” has somehow arrived.
What was “raised” to be a home for 4, becomes a home for 2 at the end of summer—which is almost as unfathomable as building this home for ur family once was.
I expected to wake cranky this morning, and I suppose I am (my youngest didn’t get home until midnight & my mother is 18 years dead), but my first thought/feeling/sensation was santosha/satisfaction/sweetness–for a job well done.
This is my last mother’s day with a child at home.
At 22, he’ll still fight me over meal contributions (dishes & the like), and it is this ordinariness in which I most delight–this sharing of home–particularly now that he resides elsewhere; a fact my heart refuses to assimilate.
I’m not sure if it’s the hormones or the daily meditation practice or the surrender that comes with radical aging, but apparently, I’ve been assigned this New Year’s Resolution:
“Weep without restraint.”
I once went 4 years without a single tear–all the way through adolescence; and as a mother, my boys could count the times they saw me cry.
On this wintry day, I wake as I often do–migraine-y; only at 14 below, the pain doesn’t ease with rising & hydrating & showering.
Additionally, the departure of my first born is imminent. He only lives a few hours away this year (unlike the semester in Central America or the one across Europe or the season at the shore), but he is returning to school via Istanbul–to meet her family.
And more than that, and we shouldn’t have done it, but we’ve grown attached to him again, which is to say he arrived the week before Solstice and has been here ever since, all the way through to the Epiphany, so unlike previous years, when he was barely home at all for the holidays, let alone for more than a weekend in any season.
While he scurried around the house packing up, I felt my resistance shape like a barge inside me, and so I threw myself into cooking, just in case he was still around for lunch (and just so I wouldn’t flutter around him or re-arrange his room or decide we needed to relocate.)
Not only homemade spaghetti sauce (with Italian opera playing in the background) but a deep dish turkey pot pie, all served in my grandmother’s china.
He looks like his grandmother. He is dark-skinned like her. Wise. (Once at the height of summer, I cooked my mother’s Turkey soup to bear the ache of missing her.)
I dropped three different lids today while I prepared the feast that no one planned to eat, and he tripped up two sets of stairs while packing, and his younger brother dropped an entire tray of silverware on the dishwasher rack, (cracking a piece of my grandmother’s china) while their father had to be sent to his room to meditate for fear he would implode with his silent suffering.
They just left for the airport. All three of my men. Well, sort of. There are a few last minute stops and an overnight at a friend’s place outside of Boston for the one who is flying.
Tomorrow, my husband and our 17-year-old–will return to the high school; and then this house on this hill in the middle of the woods will be all mine again.
No doubt, I will do what I did when our son first went off to college: step into his room and steep in the absence of him, confounded by the depth and breadth of motherhood within the constant tugging of selfhood (or is self now occupied within mother?)
“Your life has blessed mine,” I told him as we embraced in the kitchen after he washed the lunch pots.
I kissed this bristly man, my baby, on both cheeks, and even on his forehead, suddenly communing with the 4 year-old boy whose self was so intertwined with mine, instead of this 22 year-old man whose life continues to twine elsewhere, across oceans and continents, as if we hadn’t shared the same body and breath.
I am learning what it is to love. It is a wave. A tide. A flood. A desert.An oasis. A fresh, pulsing spring.
At best, I am reed like. Moving toward and away. Loving myself and this vacancy even as I weep, especially as I weep, keeping my soul moist, my heart resilient, and my life ready to expand or contract at any moment.
although only “minutes” have passed since i immersed myself in the work of the day… i hear the school bus go by, again. and though no child of mine is upon it, i still find myself marking time as it comes and goes, as my youngest prepares to fly the nest, and the beginning and ending of day are almost touching.