” My baby is having a baby,” I told her, and as I said it a wave of excited disbelief sprinkled with droplets of sadness washed over me.
Just yesterday, he was tugging at my skirt and asking me for a “dink,” toddling around the house barefoot cause he’d pull his socks off almost as soon as they were on. When did he and his brothers grow up?
This is a head-shaking question that is surfacing more and more frequently in the minds of members of my generation, who with awed wonder – often paired with regret – ask themselves, “Where did the years ago?”
I wrote the following poem on a particularly chaotic day when my children were still children. I had no idea then that the time in my life that I “longed” for at that moment – one that seemed endless years away, would come upon me so quickly – that I am still catching my breath.
However, even then, I understood that time is a river whose current becomes faster with each passing day, and that I would one day look back and miss the yesterdays that were forever out of my reach.
A Mother’s Lament
For years I dreamt of a house so neat,
No toys on the porch spilling out to the street,
No coats, no book bags, piled up on the floor,
No clutter, no mess, as I opened the door.
For years I dreamt of a house so still,
No screams, no yells that pierced like a drill,
No quarrels, no squabbles to referee,
No rebellion, no defiance, no testing of me.
For years I dreamt of time for myself,
No stopping what I was doing to get toys off the shelf,
No early dawn breakfasts, no demands for more,
No mopping up spills on a newly washed floor.
For years I dreamed of a childfree house,
No more canceled plans for me and my spouse,
No simchas left early because of a call,
Or lacking a sitter – not going at all.
No need to dream – the years have flown,
The children have left – all are grown.
They are immersed in lives of their own,
So busy and distracted – now and then they phone.
When I come home, and turn the lock,
I’m greeted by the faint ticking of a distant clock,
I gaze into a hallway that is silent and dark,
The once- crayoned walls are shadowy and stark.
No longer are there explosions of noise,
No playtime invasions by girls and boys,
There is just a heavy quiet that is loud to my ear
And an absence of laughter that gets harder to bear.
This was the time I looked so forward to,
There were so many things I had planned to do.
Yet these longed- for activities have lost their appeal,
Life has a void my many hobbies can’t fill.
To pass the time, I often walk,
I usually end up in our neighborhood park,
And as I sit and watch the children play,
How I ache for yesterday.
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