The kids are back at school, and my heart is both heavy and happy.
I have to admit I miss them when they're not home all day, and I'm not at work. The house seems too empty, too quiet. I don't know what to do with myself, because my days are usually full of taking care of the kids, making sure they're okay, that their needs are met. After all, that's my job. Not only that, but when they're home, their voices and bodies -- their souls -- fill any void in the house. It bursts at the seams with all the life and love, noise and boisterous activity.
It never ceases to amaze me how just their footsteps coming up to the house at the end of the school day fills me up again, makes me happy, makes me smile and long to hold them, or even just to rub their arm, to let them know I missed them, that I hope they had a great day, and that I need them in my life.
I realize that, when they're home, I don't often show those emotions, because much of my time is spent telling them to stop fighting and bickering, or to pick up their mess, or walk the dog. Constant nagging, as Em would say.
But I love them deeply, and I miss them, and worry about them when they're not home. And although they roll their eyes at me, and tell me I'm being silly, I know I'm just being a mom who is watching her children slowly grow up and away from her. And although that's part of the natural progression of all things, it's still very difficult, and I don't know if I'll ever get used to it. I don't know if I want to get used to it either.
I did not feel complete as a human being until I had my children. First, Em came along, and with her a whole new world Mr. Handsome and I knew nothing about. She opened our eyes up to things we had forgotten: the utter happiness of a child who sees a butterfly for the first time, or whose bare feet touch the wet, dewy grass, or who wants nothing more than to sit in her parents' arms and read a book. We have watched her grow into a young woman, now in her first year at high school, the same high school I attended. I still cannot believe this little girl who was afraid to sleep by herself for so many years is now taking the city bus on her own, and doesn't want her mother to drop her off in front of the school, lest her friends see her.
And then, we decided we wanted a second child, and then, before we knew it, Dee was there. An entirely different person, much more laidback and willing to just watch the world unfold before his eyes as he took it all in. Soon, before we had even grown accustomed to this new little person in our lives, we were fighting for his life, discovering the cancer in him. Our lives were never the same. We were not sure how long he'd be with us, and our life became a day-to-day process, for fear of even trying to look ahead past that. We could not imagine this little boy, who was on death's door more than once, would ever attend kindergarten. We did not know, if he survived, how well he'd be, and whether he'd even be able to do the things other children did.
But now, he's starting Grade 6, and he is probably the healthiest person in our family. His body is solid, a mass of muscle under the scars. The pain he's experienced is masked by the perpetual smile on his freckled face, by the songs he makes up in his head and sings everyday.
My children will always be a big part of me: of who I am, of what makes me me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
I am a 46-year-old mom of two amazing children and wife to a wonderful and very patient man, and a lucky friend to many. I am a Realtor and a writer, but have also been a journalist, editor, and daycare provider. Not every day is a good day, but I sure try to keep smiling.