I’m sitting at my favorite cafe and writing spot; a cup of hot coffee and a morning glory muffin next to me. It’s raining pretty heavily, puddles of water already forming on the sidewalk. There’s the steady hum of the fans above, the chatter of a handful of people ordering coffee and joking with the owner, light jazz coming through the speakers.
On my way here, I drove by the post office to mail a letter and decided to circle back by the Middle School, on my way to Washington. The school is in session and the streets were quiet. I drove by slowly, looking at the school when, suddenly, it hit me.
My daughters are in High School now. Gone are the days when I used to drive by the Middle School, thinking of them, wondering what class they were in, and sending them smiles. Or, when I’d walk in the building for committee meetings and to help with this and that. I used to see them in the corridors, on their way to class and they’d smile or stop to say hello but . . . no PDA . . . please! There was a host of middle schoolers watching, after all:-)
As all this went through my mind at the speed of lighting, I felt tears coming up. It was the first time, I let the tears come since the girls started High School.
August was a whirlwind. We survived Irene and the four-day power shortage. We went away for four days and came back to more rain. The flood that ensued caused the first school closing of the season. All of the above while trying to adjust to a new schedule, a whole new set of demands and expectations, preparing for a workshop I was giving, and trying to orchestrate home repairs and renovations. No wonder! There has been no time to stop and reflect.
This is how I tend to be and I suspect that’s how it is for many of you; at the moment of a crisis or transition, I tend to brace and dive in. I do what I have to do, putting one foot in front of the other and making sure everyone is taken care of. Then, eventually, the “storm” passes, the initial impact is softened and the craziness becomes a distant memory.
All of a sudden, I find myself alone and quiet, settled into the new rhythm. It’s at that point that whatever emotions were kept at bay, come to the surface, demanding to be dealt with. So, today, I finally felt the impact of having my daughters, my babies no-more, entering a new phase. I often joke that with twins, there is no dress rehearsal. No previous experience to fall back to.
Our relationship is strong and loving, yet things have also changed. For, as much as they love and respect me, they’re establishing boundaries and flexing their independence. As a constant presence in their life, I’m here to rebel against and run to, often, at the same time. Confusing, to say the least . . . for all of us.
I have to constantly try and recall what it meant to be fifteen . . . while reminding myself that they’re not me! Their temperaments and individual traits may remind me of myself or my husband but they’re not us. They’re unique individuals.
So, here I am today, my coffee cup empty and my muffin indulged. I’ll have brownies for them when I get home. They’ll be really happy after a long day at school and field hockey practice. They’ll give me a big smile and a hug before they grab the bag from my hands. For a brief moment, they’ll regress to being two kids with chocolate all over their mouths and a huge grin of utter satisfaction.
Don’t you love chocolate?
Photo by Cindy Fernandez on Unsplash