As clear as crystal, I remember a moment shortly after Jes was born when he was crying as I cradled him in my arms. Katherine crawled up into my lap and began crying for no apparent reason. Within moments, I felt the warmth of tears falling from my own eyes.
I don’t recall why Jes was crying, but my heart whispered to me that Katherine’s tears were brought on by the fact that I was no longer just her mommy ~ from that moment on she would have to share me with this crying little boy. My tears were a little more difficult to name, but in retrospect I believe they were tears of separation. I knew instinctively that the little boy in my arms would never be as close to me as he had been the previous nine months of his life, nor would his sister. Those nine months when you carry a child inside you are precious and nothing short of a miracle. For nine months your unborn child belongs to you and you alone. For that miraculous period of time you are the source of their nourishment, their security, their life. Your body is their home.
So, in a strange but very simple way, my tears that day were shed for those days that would never come again. Those days when my body served as their shelter ~ their home. My tears were shed for the changing relationship I had with this beautiful bright eyed baby boy and his sister who wasn’t quite three years old yet. She knew and I knew that my whole world belonged to her before her brother’s grand arrival on that early Halloween morning. My heart was crying for her and for me. As the tears streamed down my cheeks, they were as warm and tender as the everlasting love I have for the beautiful and innocent babies I brought into this world.
Nearly sixteen years have passed since that quiet tear filled moment we shared on our living room sofa. The years are strung together by moments when those same loving tears have come to the surface but were not allowed to fall. Moments when you have to let them go to allow them to grow. Moments when you want to protect them from every harsh event the world may send their way. Each milestone they achieved brought joy but also the stinging sense of separation. It’s just the way it has to be.
Now we are sitting at the doorstep of their adulthood and the truth is it is really hard letting go. The urge to protect and shield them from the world is innate. It is what mothers are meant to do.
I miss those tender moments when their world was no larger than our living room.