The Circle of Life

The drive was long and I was not feeling quite right. The way I felt, I thought I was coming down with something, but since I feel better today, I’m thinking that it was some combination of fatigue, overeating, over drinking, dog and smoke allergies. Today felt a little bit better. But now I’m faced with the ever pressing reality of school and the studies that will go along with me at least for the next few months. Still, I’m hesitant to go all in. I read a little bit this afternoon, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Maybe once I start class, even though my classes don’t have much to do with what I’m preparing for my test, I’m hoping it gives me back some discipline. But enough of that, it’s depressing.

Of course, today I was asked how the trip went. And overall, I’m glad that we did all of the things that we did. It was a good trip, and fun to hang out with our parents, our friends, and each other. But it’s different now that we’re married.

This was our first trip back to Milwaukee together since the wedding, and there were a few things that I noticed. One of the more awesome changes was that we didn’t have to go our separate ways at the end of the day. There’s something called a guest room, and apparently, that’s where the married children sleep. So that was nice. But I got a strange feeling from both sets of parents. It’s difficult to describe.

They seemed melancholy. That’s a good word. As happy as they were to see us, from the moment we walked in the door, it was like they were already saying goodbye. I felt clung to. I think it has something to do with finally cutting the cord, so to speak. Maybe they feel like they’re losing us for real this time. We bring our own car, we are building our own life. We’re only there for what feels like a moment, a breath in and out. And then we’re lost again until that weekly phone call or that next distant visit. I can’t imagine how hard that must be. To create and rear a child, to give them everything, including all those precious hours of attention and love, and then watch them drive away. I know it makes them sad. I imagine this is why they cling. Why they beg us to move closer. I sometimes wonder if they really know why we can’t.

I think our parents are also afraid that they’re losing their grandchildren, who are still only half in each of our bodies, not even in existence beyond the occasional discussion, speculation or joke. I know that my parents really value their close relationship with my niece and nephews, and that when we do have children, distance will prevent them from having a similar setup with us and ours. I understand this concern, too, and I know that when the time comes, we’ll both do our best to give our sons or daughters the closest possible relationship with our parents. What else can we do? We can’t give up everything we’re working for in our own lives just so we can stay in physical proximity to the people we love. We all have telephones, internet, occasional transportation. And it will get better. The jobs and the money are just around the corner. I can feel it.

One of those nights last week, James and I were driving from one house/bar/restaurant to another, I mentioned how fascinating I find life to be. How I was waiting for him to pick me up at Olive Garden, and I watched people go in and out. There was one woman, perhaps my mother’s age, with another woman, older. They looked similar enough that I thought them to be mother and daughter. My thoughts turned to the past, when the one was nestled inside the other, completely dependent. We were all once so tiny, beginning our journey as two cells that just know what to do and how to grow, without any of us having to give it a second thought. The biology of it all is so intricate and amazing that I can’t even think about the soul of it. Biologically, we are so connected to our mothers, through our whole lives, but we are also separate and unique. It really is hard to wrap my brain around sometimes.

As amazing as I find the concept of conception, pregnancy, birth and all the ups and downs of parenthood, I know that when the time does come, it will hit me like a ton of bricks. I am confident that James and I will make fine parents, and it makes me feel so warm to know that he is as excited about the adventure as I am, but in the meantime, I hope that we continue to make our own parents proud, even if they are sad not to be with us as much as they might be if our home phones had a 414 or 262 area code. I like to think that we are still close, even if states or oceans or countries lie between us.

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