At my yearly medical exam yesterday, my doctor asked me how I am. Well, it’s been a difficult few years, I started. Then I got to the part where I mentioned that my kids were growing up and needing me so much less. And that when the older one needed me, she really needed me. And when she didn’t, well, she’s hardly home. I think I might cry, I said.
How can I open myself up like this at the doctor’s office? Well, because my doctor is the kind of doctor who told my youngest daughter, ‘Your tears are OK with me.”
When I mentioned the tear possibility, my doctor handed me a box of Kleenex.
I feel like a cliché.
My nest isn’t empty yet.
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary.
This was the first year when my birthday didn’t find me jumping up and down.
Life is wonderful. Life is moving fast. I think I’m starting to shrink. As in I always tell people I’m 5’4” and a half, but I measure just under 5’4” now. And I know at some point in my life I was the height that I like to tell people.
I don’t want to shrink. I’m probably not shrinking. But I have a lot of tears lately and I think the accumulated mass of tears leaving my body has resulted in a bit of shrinkage in my height.
Perhaps I sound dramatic. Perhaps it’s true that my life is wonderful (it is), and (yes, use a comma for emphasis) I have a lot of tears about my kids growing up.
No, I don’t want them to stay small or to be anywhere else but here. It feels perfectly right that my oldest daughter is hardly home and that when she is home she is sharing pictures of her adventures. It feels perfectly right to have my younger daughter tell me that no, she doesn’t want to go do some fun activity with me because she’d rather hang out in her room by herself.
This is where I am supposed to be right now. And I have some tears to shed. I can blame it on hormones, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who finds myself crying about my babies growing up. This cliché is me and I’m writing my way through it on my 20th wedding anniversary while my age approaches 50. It’s just another ordinary July morning at my house: another writing slow-down session to mark my tear-stained journey to whatever comes next.