I was having a conversation with my 7-year-old daughter the other day about college. Her topic choice.
The conversation centered around her wanting my assurance that she could attend a college close by so she could visit often and that after college, she could just come back and live with us. I looked at her questioning little face, put my arms around her small frame, gave her a hug and said "of course."
I smiled broadly to myself as I said these words. I knew as time went on she would likely change her tune, But for now, I liked that she imagined things never really changing from the way they were today. I knew there would come a day when I would cling to that thought too.
It's funny. There are days I revel in my kids' bedtime. To have just a few minutes without the questioning, complaining, whining, squabbling, demanding and general noise that accompanies many of my days. I relish date night and love girls night out. I love these times mostly because they are brief. I know that will come to an end and after a good night's sleep I will wake up refreshed and ready for hugs, kisses and a new days of adventure. I never really think about the fact that the day will come when my kids give me a permanent break.
I remember the tears my Dad shed on the day he dropped me off at college. I remember the tears my Mom shed as she watched me drive off to my first adult home far away from home. How many tears will I shed when my kids move on? For now, I love the fact that at the end of the day I can rest assured that the people I care about most all end up under the same roof.
I remember being small and feeling secure in the knowledge that I was surrounded by my parents and the four walls that held us securely in place. I also remember growing up and wanting to break free from those walls. Time changed before my eyes and I never really knew it until now. On the uphill of growing up you don't look down. It is only when you approach the summit that you begin to realize how you got there and what you left behind. As the climb narrows, the precarious nature of time reveals itself and reflection becomes your most dependable anchor.
The other day I was shopping with my 3-year-old son. It was cold outside and rain had begun violently pouring just as we were emerging from the store, bags in hand. We made it to the car and then drove home into the dry safety of our garage. As soon as we got in the house my son threw off his shoes, ran over to the couch, plopped himself on it and sighed. "Mommy," he said, "I love home."
Me too, I thought. I hoped wherever life took us, he would - we all would - always love home.