I sit around my suddenly empty home and wonder if my little ones, who have just left the nest, appreciate the vast blue sky before them. Like pixie dust, the thought of their happiness sprinkles a semblance of joy onto all the corners they had filled the day before.
My husband goes around, finds stranded objects, and showers me with questions. I tell him these are the crumbs left behind so our children can soon find their way back! We let it go at that and each return to whatever we were doing before the weekend: he is back to the election news if not his newly discovered computer games, while I do my writing and crossword puzzles. Neither of is willing to disturb the heavy silence for fear it may erase the happy voices in our heads.
The more I see these strong and capable adults, the more I remember the little helpless ones who could not survive without us. My son’s fiancé jokingly asked me, “How come you never taught him how to tie his shoes?” To which we all laughed. Selfish as it may sound, I never did teach him that, for I enjoyed the way he asked me to tie them, and loved the weight of his little hand resting on my head for balance.
No matter how you raise your children, eventually they all learn to do for themselves, even if it means substituting loafers for sneakers. My daughters no longer need me to give them a haircut, no one asks for a French braid, and they call on me only to show their love. I see them go through family albums for a good laugh at the ruffled dresses I used to make them. The laughter is pure fun and not intended to hurt because they also laugh at the “units” style, a hideous trend among their peers, which I only surrendered to so they’d be happy. That’s growing up for you, looking back for a good laughter.
We have a great time together. If I continue to see them as children, how can I blame them for seeing my facial lines as a sign of sadness, trying their hands at a role reversal, or assuming I need help? This is another aspect of generation gap, one that I can’t fill. They don’t wish to be patronized, and I don’t enjoy being told what’s good for me. We all need to be patient because this is a fact that they will only understand when they’re old enough to receive the same from those who love them.
Blind as I am to age, I tell myself that maybe they can see something I never will. In my eyes, I remain the capable mother and they will forever be my children. I refuse to see the changes in my appearance and health through their loving eyes.
I guess age doesn’t come with wrinkles, gray hair, even illnesses. You know you’re old when your kids worry about the kind of shoes you wear.