it doesn’t matter that my children are grown and out of the house
I love them as fiercely as I did the moment they were born
likely more so
time has polished and sealed my affection
the weight of the world
the unkindness of strangers
and family alike
doesn’t ease as your child grows
it is a constant companion
mothers are never bystanders to their child’s pain
it would be impossible or careless
say what you will
it will not change what is
a child is like a gift that never loses its original wonder
indeed a child is the most wonderful gift of all
When I was in my last year of college I lived in a rundown apartment in Willimantic, Connecticut. Willimantic was seven miles from Storrs and the University of Connecticut. Seven miles is far when you don’t have a car. I didn’t have a car. I had a bike; but bikes suck in New England winters. I also had the bus, and a 24 hour library, and the couches of friends when I didn’t catch the last bus home.
I was college student poor. So poor that I recall one day having no money and only a rutabaga to eat. To this day I can’t eat a rutabaga and not think of that girl that was me so long ago. It wasn’t so bad, I like rutabagas.
I think of that story tonight as my daughter is away at college (post bac) and presently has $10 to her name and no groceries. I was sharing this news with Chris and he had me recall my college days. He said he had many days himself when $10 would have been a fortune. Ten bucks can get you a weeks worth of Top Ramen at least. Truth be told my daughter has it pretty good, despite this small setback. Money is on its way; and she is learning what it is to be resourceful and independent. There is something inherently affirming about taking care of oneself.
I told my son this at the beginning of summer. “You need a job,” I said, “not just so you can make money, but because it’s empowering to take responsibility for yourself.”
It’s excruciating to watch your kids struggle, there’s no denying it. I have to believe that there is a greater gift I can give my daughter than worry. She will come out of this stronger and wiser and likely proud of herself.