She glowed with the weary wonder of a woman who has just had a baby. I was proud of her, excited for her, sympathetic of her sleeplessness. I listened to her story and inevitably found it winding into mine. That morning she nursed her daughter for the first time, and I had nursed mine for the last.
I was so tired today. I put on my game face, packed the kids in the van and managed to have a sense of humor when I arrived at the library with no wagon, stroller or back-pack to contain little ones. I spent the afternoon coloring, drawing and doing flips on the floor instead of cleaning and doing multiplication facts. But it was definitely and act of will. I wanted to turn on the t.v. and waste my life watching time-lapse cooking videos on facebook. I mean who doesn’t want to know how make sweet potato crust quiche?
I tried not to panic at my disposition. I tend to be a little afraid of my moods so I have to repeatedly tell myself that everyone has “off” days. Still, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something was flying under the radar.
Grief is exhausting.
I’m watching a friend lose her mother right now. Every one of her minutes is both too long and too short- full of love and full of pain. It makes sense that she is exhausted. We expect dying to bring grief. But there is a grief to living as well and it’s usually hidden in change.
My house is bustling with change. Passports are being purchased, books written, relationships maturing and boys participating in sports at long last. Our family has grown up. It has a completeness to it and with great relief I can see an end to the diapers… and the pumping… and the hormones. The years of hunkering down and minimizing activity are coming to an end. It’s time for us to go and do some of the things that we were created to do. And that is exciting. But anytime we reach out for the new thing we must let go of the old thing.
And letting go of something precious (even if it is old) is hard.
This season has been precious to me. By God’s grace, I found a beauty in the simplicity and hiddeness of having children. So many times God brought me to the end of myself and to where reality actually begins. To His nature, and His presence. There was a relentlessness to it that I struggle to put into words. But there was also a joy that is equally as inaudible.
I know God is not done bringing me to the end of myself nor will the next season be devoid somehow of joy. Those are not things specific to seasons of life but how He does it is changing. And that is why I’m grieving- I will miss this how. The little feet and tiny cries and constant desire to be held. I’ve come to know it. I’ve come to understand it. I’ve come to love it.
So today, I gave myself permission to be tired and recognized that I’m grieving. Even if I am ready and eager to move on. Then I held my baby extra long in the shower and let the water wash over us. She laid her head on my shoulder and I breathed in, certain of how wondrously short this life is and how rare that moment will become.