Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Holding Back the Ocean



Honeybee in a trumpet creeper flower

It is not a small thing to love a child. She sits on the bed's edge as she bends to pack her trunks for college, boxes and bags surrounding her like hounds, eager to do her bidding. I lean against the wall, the carpet like sand under my toes and I feel my legs loosen and shift. Conversation swells between us but my breath surges in ragged gulps, my chest tight, aching. I do not feel old enough to have one child headed to war and another to college. We discuss her brother's deployment in small, careful words, always coming back to easier thoughts such as sheets and towels. My emotions tumble and grind before sifting to pieces at my feet. Tears well but do not fall and I realize with exquisite clarity that I do not know what to feel. I am proud of  his choice but terrified of his options. It is not a small thing to love a child. She pauses in her packing and pulls me close.

I kneel in the garden, my knees thick with mulch and pull. Sliding my fingers down the supple vines, I slowly find the base and begin to yank. Thick white roots pop and snap beneath me as I dig through the soil, my fingers blackened and rough. Trumpet creeper shoots poke from between the plants, the tender vines disguised by rain rich growth. The vines crash and break against the garden's edge, receding only when pulled. I do not regret planting the trumpet creeper and admire the tenacity of a plant with a plan of its own. She will leave as will he, a final contingent in an unwinnable war. I slowly stand and let the shoots roll from my hands. Grass laps at my ankles like the tides and I head back inside to help her pack.

29 comments:

  1. Beautiful words Tammy! I'm sending you love and strength through the blogophere. Thanks for making two wonderful people!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have tears welling up in my eyes now too. Being a parent does not get any easier with time and experience. It is not a small thing to love a child... I will remember this post next time my children and I disagree on something. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Children rarely make things easy for their parents and yet they teach us to be understanding of their choices. That is one of the greatest things about family. I wish them well.....what will you do with all that free time now?:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Feeling the same way, Tammy, as I help my daughter pack for Europe. Truly you are right that "It is not a small thing to love a child." Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pretty heavy post here today and well written. I understand how you feel and know the house will seem quiet and empty after they are. gone. But they are off to start their own lives, all we can do is support them and pray for them. And may God give you comfort and strength

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wishing that both of your kids will bloom and remain unhurt where each are headed. I have sent both my kids to college, glad to say they have both graduated now. They have not gone into the service, though my older brother was in the Army for eight years. I always tell myself and Judy - you cannot help them by worrying. Just be there when they need you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. For our children, all we can do is mold them in the right ways. They're both good kids, and they will continue to make you proud in their own way. I admire them both.
    You won't be a mother if these feelings did not overwhelm you...it IS okay to feel what you're feeling.
    From one mother to another, hang in there, it will be okay.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a momentous tide of emotion in facing both a right of passage with your daughter and an act of hope and courage in parting with your son. I have no doubt that both your children, now adults, will make you proud following their respective paths. I also have no doubt that each will find comfort and support in memories of home and family as they move along those paths. I can only offer my best wishes to you all.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's not a small thing to love a child. How strange we wrote on resonating topics. You write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing this part of your garden with us.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My thoughts are with you and your kids......I will be sending extra prayers out for your son. Being a mom is a painful and joyful thing all wrapped up into one. Though we are in the "playground phase" my heart aches if one of my beans is mistreated by someone...I know this day will come for me all too soon as well and I will remember your words. I can understand why you were in your garden. So much beauty in your writing... you take care...wishing you all the very best....Nicole

    ReplyDelete
  11. The kids are like young birds, fly out the nest. We wait the call or e-mail or Skype conversation or a letter in envelope.You write so sincere and with soul. Be strong, Tammy!

    ReplyDelete
  12. To see them both leave at once is despairing, but you've done your parenting job obviously. Doesn't make it any easier though.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

    ReplyDelete
  13. You have captured your feelings in beautiful words. I know what it is to love children and the worries when they fly out. But on the other side I suppose you can be very proud on them, so do I.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It is easy to teach our children to fly, not to easy to actually let them do it. Your children will soar and you will be so very proud of them. And somehow our gardens help us cope. You have written a beautiful narrative. Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Bittersweet and beautifully said. How proud you can be of both of them! The empty nest beckons, and you will be okay. Not the same, but okay.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You were meant to write (and garden of course!) Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  17. First of all, I'm sending you and your family love and support for all the challenges you face now and in the future. I guess releasing them to their adult lives and adventures is one of your adventures at this point. Not easy.
    And now I just want to say what a beautiful, very talented writer you are. I'm so moved by your words, your images. You have a rare gift and it made my morning. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I sympathise so much with what you are going through, and it brought back strong emotions from when my own children left home, over 10 years ago now. Letting them go is one of the hardest things we do, and it is a form of grieving when they leave. It is so exciting for them, on the verge of their new lives, and ours is left with a great big empty space. The garden is a fantastic form of therapy!

    ReplyDelete
  19. My heart is with you Tammy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. We raise them up, to be grown and fly away. Then, when the time comes, it seems it happened overnight.

    I know you're proud of both of these young ones. But, thanks goodness for the garden therapy.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beautiful and heart wrenching...your words show your love, your pain and your trepidation...I am sending hugs as you work through this difficult time and hope you find solace in your garden.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hugs and strength for the days to come. Mother Earth is always a comfort, too, when you need her. (Excuse me, I must go get a tissue.)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Funnily enough, we wrote about the same thing this week. My son has not left the nest, but he is trying his wings. I feel for you with your son gone to war. I cannot imagine how hard that must be. With all my heart I hope both your babies are well and safe when away from home.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This post really pulled at my heartstrings, and I found myself holding back the ocean, too. I lost my son in a car accident, so I can completely understand your feelings of fear and dread at your son going off to war. I hope he is kept safe, and returns home soon, and that your daughter does well in college. I also hope your empty nest will become a place of peace and tranquility, with much joy and laughter during homecomings.

    ReplyDelete
  25. You've expressed it so well. It's just wrenching to have to let them go.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Departures, separations, are such necessary hardships. You capture poignantly the two sides of life's inevitabilities.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you to everyone for your kindness. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Tough time of year Tammy, don't you wish you could 'bottle' them and keep them close?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting my blog! Feel free to comment on the posts or photos.