Zadar The Rising and Setting of Parenthood
As I awaken to the early morning, I shake off sleep and admire the sun slowly peeking through the trees.
Still trying to find its place in the world, much like I am. Rising without a sound. Shedding its light upon us, secretly telling us that there is so much out there to see.
It’s steady, reliable, sometimes harsh, yet always beautiful.
Ignoring the urge to crawl back under my warm covers, I start my day. It is summer and right now I can’t recall what day it is. I search for caffeine.
The sun’s smooth, calming rays wash over the kitchen. Dust particles dance off the counters, partnering up with the sun’s light. Both are mocking me. I have not cleaned since we’ve been back from vacation. The kids cups from the night before line the sink edge. A tiny army of mismatched cups, half full, waiting for someone to attack.
I sit and inhale a deep breath, relaxing each muscle. The tribe will awaken soon. Blasting through my calm. Causing me to miss the sun rising up over the tree tops, which somehow occurs each day without me taking note of the beauty.
Cereal will be poured. Chocolate milk will be spilt. I will ingest additional caffeine. There will be more sighing and protesting when I ask the kids to dress for the day.
It’s never ending. Ongoing. Predictable.
Sitting in my car, driving towards our fifth stop of the day, I adjust my sunglasses, attempting to block out the harshness beating through the windshield. Questions about lunch echo through the car. This same question has been asked since the last bite of cereal left their bowls. I ignore it. They will get fed … eventually. They always do.
Once we’re back home, the pool is waiting. Clear blue skies blanket us from overhead. I’m able to sit and watch the fun unfold.
The sunblock shimmering from their tanned skin. The sun–no longer gentle, but harsh and bright–almost blinding if I dare to tip my chin up. So I don’t. I look at what’s in front of me. Laughter and happiness. These memories are burning into my heart.
Sweat pours from my skin. My stress and worries dissolve. Once the bugs appear and I can’t take the heat, we retreat inside.
The coolness of the AC shocks our system, but we welcome its relief. Unwinding and setting into our evening routine, dinner is prepared as shadows dance across the kitchen.
Our sun, my daily guide, is slowly setting. I feel my energy drain and want to call it a day. But the kids are not done. They never are.
Dusk is upon us. Lamps are turned on and the bath-time battle commences. My companion has almost vanished … only its glow remains, reminding me that my day is almost to the end.
Once all is quiet, I sit again and take a deep breath. I try to not think about anything, but know that tomorrow will be more of the same. It’s my constant, the rising and setting of parenthood.
This is the time of my day I often contemplate the future. Fear and hope are lingering in the shadows of twilight, invading the parts of my mind that were sidetracked throughout the day. I understand that I will always be a parent. Just as the sun rises and sets, I will forever be a mother.
But there will be a juncture when they will leave to live their own lives. Stepping out of our warmth to follow their own adventures. Leaving the protection I have always provided.
How will my life change once parenthood vanishes?
Will I feel sad?
Will I bask in new-found freedom?
Will they forget everything we have tried to instill in their young brains?
I vow that when this moment arrives, I will hug them tight and remind them:
To always dance and cherish the delicate rays of each sunrise.
To always protect themselves from the harsh burn that comes when they least expect.
To stand tall and never fear the shadows of twilight.
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