Today I had a great big ugly cry all by myself. It started when I was reading Meghan Moravcik Walbert's stories about becoming a foster parent.
The foster-to-adopt system is a beautiful one, but there is a lot of potential for sadness there. Her new son asked "Is this my home?" - what a question! At the same time, she's asking "Is this my son?" Again, what a question, and again, one with no clear answer. For now, yes. Forever... maybe.
And I'm sitting here kind of obsessing about how sad it will be for her and for him if the answer turns out to be no. That's when I start crying.
But then I think about how the answer is kind of no for all of us. Are my own biological children mine forever? Sort of yes, sort of no.
They belong to me now, at age six and age two. But they will belong to themselves much longer than that.
Forever mine in my heart, in practicality they will eventually go off and do and be and think and experience things I will not know about. Things I may not ever even hear about.
I'm not usually subject to this degree of sentimentality. (That's more the mister's thing.) In my world, if your kids grow up and grow into themselves you have won. That is the goal, after all. The whole point of all this difficult parenting stuff.
But for those of who aren't foster parents and aren't worrying over medically fragile children, it's easy to forget that.
There is so much to the day-to-day that there's no time to mull over the fact that my children will someday too soon tie their own shoes and cook their own lunch and then move into their own homes and create their own families.
(Or not, as they so choose.)
I cried today because Walbert's stories put that fact front and center in my head, forcing me to confront it. I cried because they won't always be mine, and I cried because that eventual separation is what I've always hoped for.
It's a lot to process. And I only have just over a decade to wrap my head around it.