Sunday, August 9, 2009
©1999 by Susan Noyes Anderson
If I had words to wrap around
those mommy days and mother years,
I’d hold them in my hands and say
that nothing ever disappears.
But I can’t seem to feel the page,
and all this stuff just moves so fast––
in bits and pictures, fading memories
of an ever-fading past.
My life is turning over now;
it’s tumbling down a hill of time
and every stone unearthed rolls on…
No looking back, no saving climb
can make tomorrow yesterday,
can soften chin and jaw and cheek;
my smile is no more universe;
my eyes, though warm, they do not seek.
A river runs and so it should;
I would not have it change its course,
but as it rushes to the sea,
it also leaves behind the Source.
I wrote this poem ten years ago, but I feel the sentiments that inspired it every bit as strongly today, one week after our always-too-brief period of family togetherness at the beach house. Apparently, the empty nest is a syndrome from which I will never entirely recover. My life has many good things in it, fulfilling things––to say nothing of my wonderful husband-–but none of these quite fills the space or satisfies the longing for those golden days when every one of our children lived under one roof...when our family was always complete, not just in emotional bonding but in physical presence.
Don't get me wrong. I'm happy that my children have grown and thrived and developed their own lives apart from mine. And yet, that particular victory of parenting is bittersweet. One of the ironies of raising and nurturing our young successfully is that we, in the doing of it, lay the groundwork for our own obsolescence. Or maybe I should say relative obsolescence. I'm very much aware that I am anything but obsolete in my children's lives. Having said that, my former role has seen its day.
On almost every level, this pleases me.
But it pains me, too. And that's the truth of it.
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