…”Oh yes, sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine.” Years ago I heard this Carole King song and have held it close to me with each of you in mind. When I hear it, I feel sentimental and sometimes I begin humming it unconsciously when I think of you.
In the late summer of 1961 our lives changed forever. By the fall of 1965, we had were a family beyond our expectations and imagination. In family photos of us, I see you looking out at the world with bright anticipation. You are sitting with us, on us, or encircling us; and we are frozen in time as an inseparable unit.
A photograph is a moment in time. You have moved out of our family togetherness to full lives of your own. I can’t remember nor remark on all of the ways we have moved from there to here. Time changes everything other than my constant and continual love for you.
And I like and admire each and every one of you. This is a great gift to me. The innate bond of love between mother and child does not always extend to the pleasure of shared company and interdependence of emotional caring and support. And my admiration doesn’t stem from motherly love. It grows from seeing you navigate from boys and girls to men and women; and as children, grandchildren, parents, friends, thinkers and doers.
My deep feelings are difficult to express with my fingers on a keyboard. My mind skips from the miracle of your tiny hand on the day you were born to holding your hand on your first day of school. It goes from skipping mud puddles hand-in-hand to you helping me when I need a hand from the couch.
Bits of our conversations wind through my memory. We have shared ideas and deep concepts in the rare times when we are relaxed and talkative. We have commiserated in grief, muddled through confusion, laughed with glee and trembled in fear and dread. We have, each one of us, bared our soul to the other and shielded one another from what we were afraid would harm.
Now you are all parents. You know that your children are so deeply embedded in your heart that they can never be plucked out. They are your greatest joy and your deepest concern. Your days and nights are filled with thoughts of their lives, present, past and future. Those feelings will never change. You are everything to me, still, that your children are to you, now.
I remember each infant face; the softness of those sweet lips softly sucking as you slept. I mentally mark the changes from carefree teenage face to adult rubbing his brow in deep thought. I can summon each of you to me at any time and at any age. My memories of you are the life companions that bring a smile.
I have feared for your lives, gloried in your lives and am thrilled to be a part of your lives. I love who you are and how you are. Each of you is all I could wish for and desire. I cannot ask for more.