Despite my belief in the wisdom of being fully present to each moment, I often yearn to be in at least two, if not three, places at the same time. I started drafting this blog post waiting to board a plane in Washington, DC, headed to Seattle. I had made a quick trip there to visit my son in combination with exhibiting at the New England Independent Booksellers Association trade show in Providence, Rhode Island. Too hard to be that close to my son, newly moved to Arlington, VA, without seeing him. Tempting to make a quick trip, too, to see his twin sister, who runs a café in Brooklyn, but I resisted.
As the 737 sliced through a thick mat of gray clouds, I wanted to be both at my son’s cozy apartment just outside the nation’s capital and back home in my quiet, island community. And, while fantasizing the impossible, I also longed to be sipping a cappuccino at my daughter’s café.
The kids haven’t lived at home for over ten years, and I’m clear that they’re both just where they should be at this stage of their lives. I’m equally certain that I’m in the place just right for me. But those sureties don’t keep me from desiring to share more of the landscape and rhythm of our daily lives.
Now, several days later and fully engaged in my life of writing, book promotion, school nursing, Quaker responsibilities, and household care, my heart still aches that I don’t share more of that life with my children and they with me. I expected that they wouldn’t remain close to their childhood home, as much as they love it. But I didn’t expect to miss them as I do so many years after their departure from this home. Yet, here it is, a great longing that wells up, often when I least expect it, and always when I see other friends whose adult children live nearby.
This seems to be another one of those opportunities life and Spirit give me to let go of my illusions of control. You’d think I’d have gotten it by now. Didn’t it sink in when I learned that I was pregnant with twins instead of the one baby my husband and I had expected? Or when they grew big enough and strong enough that I could no longer physically remove them from a dangerous or undesirable situation. And then again, when they chose friends, clothes, and activities without my input.
Those earlier parenting lessons seem minor now and not fully preparatory for my role at this time. Now that they’re grown, I long to see my children happily partnered, fulfilled with their work, spiritually nourished (and if it’s not too much to ask, if not a short commute away, at least in the same time zone as me). I know those are desires I can’t command.
So, I ground myself in this place where I’m called to be and savor the times we have together, relish the e-mails and phone conversations we share, and give thanks for our strong connections over many miles. I pray for patience, and acceptance, and faith that their journeys and mine will be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.