Am I the only mother who feels it? The strong melancholy that ribbons every milestone, it’s present at every celebration, triumph, report card. People go on about “happy tears” but I really don’t think that’s what is going on here. It feels more like longing. The Shakespearean longing of a character who inwardly knows that something good has passed, never to return and all the hope in the universe does not guarantee a particular outcome.
My children are growing up. The end of another school year has come, my oldest has her first crush and my youngest lost his first tooth. Those firsts will never happen again. My daughter will never hand me another 9th grade report card and my son will never put his first tooth under his pillow again. Of course, I celebrate these times with them but they are so mingled with loss, and I don’t know what to do with it. I need to accept it, I think “bittersweet” is a word I understand now, now that I’m a mother of growing children. I need to accept it the way I accept gum on the sidewalks of a beautiful city. Bittersweet is knocking daily on my door. I need to accept it the way I accept mud with the rain. Melancholy rolls in like a storm while I’m photographing flowers. I need to accept it. I need to accept it.